ArduPilot is a professional open source , unmanned vehicle Autopilot Software Suite, [1] capable of controlling autonomous:

    • M ultirotor drones
    • Fixed-wing and VTOL model aircraft
    • Model helicopters
    • Ground rovers
    • Model boats
    • Model submarines
    • Antenna trackers

ArduPilot is one of the most advanced, full-featured and reliable autopilot software available, used by a wide variety of professionals and amateurs, and has been developed by a variety of professional engineers and computer scientists.

[2] UAV Outback Challenge as well as the 2016 IMAV [3] competition. It is the only autopilot platform capable of controlling all the types of vehicles listed above, and is an award-winning platform that won the 2012, 2014, and 2016 . [4]

In addition to hobbyists, ArduPilot is used by a large number of leading companies around the world. The project is a collaborative software development effort, creating a commercial-grade, feature-rich and freely available source code implementation. It is Jointly managed by a group of volontaires Located around the world, using the Internet ( discourse based forum, gitter channel) to communicate, design, develop and supporting it. The development team meets weekend in an open chat meeting open to all, using Mumble . In addition, hundreds of users contribute ideas, code, and documentation to the project. ArduPilot is licensed GPL Version 3, and is free to download and use.

Software Suite

The ArduPilot software suite Consists of software Navigation (Typically Referred to as firmware When It is compiled to binary form for microcontroller hardware targets) running on the vehicle (Either Copter , Plane , rover, or Sub ), along with ground station controlling software Including Mission Planner, APM Planner, QGroundControl, MavProxy, Tower and others. [5]

ArduPilot source code is stored and managed on GitHub , and as of early 2017 has been forked by more than 5,000 GitHub users. The souce tree includes approximately 700,000 lines of C ++ code, originating from 25,000 patches with 300+ contributors, and has been forked over 5,000 times. [6]

The software suite is built automatically nightly, with continuous integration and unit testing provided by Travis CI , and has build environment and compiling Including the GNU cross platform compile and Waf . Pre-compiled binaries running on various hardware platforms are available for download from ArduPilot’s sub websites.

An octocopter flying with Ardupilot

Supported Hardware

Copter, Plane, gold Rover Sub software runs on a wide variety of embedded hardware (Including full blown Linux computers) Typically one or more consistant en microcontrolleror microprocessor connected to peripheral sensors used for navigation. These sensors include MEMS gyroscopes and accelerometers at a minimum, necessary for multirotor flight and plane stabilization. Sensors usually include, in addition, one or more compass , altimeter ( barometric ) and GPS , along with optional additional sensors such as optical flow sensors , airspeed indicators , Laser or sonar altimeters or rangefinders, monocular, stereoscopic or RGB-D cameras. Sensors may be on the same electronic board, or external.

Ground Station software, used for program or monitoring vehicle operation, is available for Windows, Linux, MacOSX, IOS and Android.

ArduPilot runs on a wide variety of hardware platforms, including the following, listed in alphabetical order:

  • Intel Aero (Linux Base)
  • APM 2.X (Atmel Mega Microcontroller Arduino base), designed by Jordi Munoz in 2010. [7] APM, for A rd P ilot M ega, only runs on older versions of ArduPilot).
  • BeagleBone Blue and PXF Mini (BeagleBone Black cape).
  • The Cube, formerly called Pixhawk 2, (ARM Cortex microcontroller base), designed by ProfiCNC in 2015.
  • Erle-Brain, (Linux base) designed by Erle Robotics.
  • Intel Minnowboard (Linux Base). [8]
  • Navio2, (Raspberry PI 3 Linux base), and Navio +, designed by EMLID.
  • Parrot Bebop, and Parrot CHUCK, designed by Parrot, SA
  • Pixhawk, (ARM Cortex microcontroller base), originally designed by Lorenz Meier and ETH Zurich, improved and launched in 2013 by PX4 , 3DRobotics, and the ArduPilot development team. [9]
  • PixRacer, (ARM Cortex microcontroller base) designed by AUAV.
  • Qualcomm SnapDragon (Linux base).
  • Virtual Robotics VRBrain (ARM Cortex microcontroller base).
  • Xilinx SoC Zynq processor (Linux base, ARM and FPGA processor). [10]

In addition to the above base navigation platforms, ArduPilot supports integration and communication with on-vehicle companion, or auxiliary computers for advanced navigation requiring more powerful processing. These include NVidia TX1 and TX2 ( NVidia Jetson architecture), Intel Edison and Intel Joule, HardKernel Odroid , and Raspberry PI computers.


Common to all vehicles

ArduPilot provides a wide range of features, including the following common for all vehicles:

  • Fully autonomous, semi-autonomous and fully manual flight modes, programmable missions with 3D waypoints, optional geofencing .
  • Stabilization options to negate the need for a third party co-pilot.
  • Simulation with a variety of simulators, including ArduPilot SITL.
  • A wide range of navigation sensors supported, including several models of RTK GPSs, traditional L1 GPSs, barometers, magnetometers, laser and sonar rangefinders, optical flow, ADS-B transponder, infrared, airspeed, sensors.
  • Sensor communication via SPI , I²C , CAN Bus , Serial communication , SMBus .
  • Failsafes for loss of radio contact, GPS and breaking a predefined boundary, minimum battery power level.
  • Support for navigation in GPS environments, with vision based positioning, optical flow , SLAM , Ultra Wide Band positioning.
  • Support for actuators and magnetic grippers.
  • Support for brushless and brushed motors.
  • Photographic and video gimbal support and integration.
  • Integration and communication with computing power, computers
  • Rich documentation through ArduPilot wiki.
  • Support and discussion through ArduPilot discourse forum, Gitter chat channels, Github, Facebook.

Copter Specific

  • Flight modes: Stabilize, Alt Hold, Loiter, RTL (Return-to-Launch), Auto, Acro, AutoTune, Brake, Circle, Drift, Guided , Super Simple, Avoid_ADSB. [11]
  • Auto-tuning
  • Wide variety of frame types supported, including tricopters, quadcopers, hexacopter, flat and co-axial octocopters, and custom motor configurations
  • Support for traditional electric and gas helicopters, mono copters, trandem helicopters.

Plane Specific

  • Fly By Wire mode s, loiter, auto, acrobatic modes.
  • Take-off options: Hand launch, bungee, catapult for take-off.
  • Landing options: Adjustable glide slope, helical, reverse thrust, net.
  • Auto-tuning, simulation with JRBSIM, X-Plane and RealFlight simulators.
  • Support for a wide variety of VTOL architectures: Quadplanes, Tilt wings, tilt rotors, tail sitters, ornithopters.
  • Optimization of 3 or 4 channel airplanes.

Rover Specific

  • Manual, Learning, Auto, Steering, Hold and Guided operational modes.
  • Support for wheeled and track architectures.

Submarine Specific

  • Depth hold: Using pressure-based depth sensors, submarines can maintain depth within a few centimeters.
  • Light Control: Control of subsea lighting through the controller.

ArduPilot is fully documented within its wiki, totaling the equivalent of about 700 printed pages and divided into six top sections: The Copter, Plane, Rover, and Submarine. A developer is an essential part of the development of the four sections of the system.

ArduPilot Use Cases

Hobbyists and Amateurs

  • Drone Racing .
  • Building and operation of Radio Control Models for recreation.


  • Aerial photogrammetry
  • Aerial photography and filmmaking.
  • Remote sensing
  • Search and Rescue
  • Robotic Applications
  • Academic Research
  • Package delivery


Early years, 2007-2012

The project ArduPilot Earliest roots dates back to late 2007 [12] When Jordi Munoz, Who later co-founded 3DRobotics with Chris Anderson , wrote an Arduino program (qui he called “arducopter”) to Stabilize year RC Helicopter. In 2009 Munoz and Anderson released Ardupilot 1.0 [13] (Flight Controller Software) along with a hardware board it could run on. That same year Munoz, who had built a traditional RC helicopter UAV able to fly autonomously, won the first Sparkfun AVC competition. [14] The project Grew further Top thanks to many members of the DIY Drones community, Including Chris Anderson Who championed the project and HAD founded the forum based community Earlier in 2007.

The first ArduPilot version , which was based on a thermopile sensor, was used to determine the location of the surface of the sky. [17] Later, the system was improved to replace thermopiles with an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) using a combination of accelerometers , gyroscopes and magnetometers . Plane, Rover and Submarine subprojects.

The year 2011 and 2012 witnessed an explosive growth in the autopilot, and Troll and HAL author Pat Hickey. Tridge’s contributions include automatic testing and simulation capabilities for Ardupilot, along with PyMavlink and Mavproxy. HALKING HALKING INSTRUMENTAL IN LINKING THE APPLICATIONS HAL (HAL): The HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) The year 2012 also saw Randy Mackay Jason Short, And Tridge taking over the role of lead Plane maintainer, after Doug Weibel who went on to earn a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering. Both Randy and Tridge are current lead keepers to date.

The free software approach to ArduPilot code development is similar to That of the Linux Operating System and the GNU Project , and the PX4 / Pixhawk and Paparazzi Project , Where low cost and availability enabled hobbyists to build autonomous small remotely piloted aircraft , Such As micro air vehicles and miniature UAVs . The drone industry, similarly, progressively leveraged ArduPilot code to build professional, high end autonomous vehicles.

Maturity, 2013-2016

While early versions of ArduPilot used the NPP flight controller, year in April CPU running the Arduino open-source programming language (qui Explains the “Arduous” share of the project name), later years Witnessed a significant re-write of the basic code in C ++ With many supporting utilities written in Python .

Between 2013 and 2014 ArduPilot Arduino Atmel based microcontroller architecture, first with the commercial introduction of the Pixhawk hardware flight controller, a collaborative effort between PX4, 3DRobotics and the ArduPilot development team , And later to the Parrot’s Bebop2 and the Linux-based flight controllers like Raspberry Pi based NAVIO2 and BeagleBone based ErleBrain. A key event within this time period included the first flight of a plane under Linux in mid 2014. [18]

Late 2014 saw the formation of DroneCode, [19] formed to bring together the leading open source UAV software projects, and most notably to solidify the collaboration and collaboration of the ArduPilot and the PX4 projects. ArduPilot’s involvement with DroneCode in September 2016. [20] 2015 was also a banner year for 3DRobotics, a heavyweight sponsor of ArduPilot development, with its introduction of the Solo quadcopter, an off the shelf quadcopter running ArduPilot. Solo’s commercial success, however, was not to be. [21]

Fall of 2015 Sawing of the Fifty Years of the Future of the Naval Postgraduate School .

Within this time period ArduPilot’s code base was refactored , to the point where it came to bear any similarity to its early Arduino years. The code was also expanded by several orders of magnitude.

Current, 2017-

VTOL architectures, integration with ROS , support for gliders , and tighter integration for submarines. The project continues to be the result of an immense amount of effort from software and hardware engineers, commercial drone companies, academic researchers, beta testers, web developers, documenters and many others under the umbrella of Sponsored in part by a growing list of over 20 corporate partners.

UAV Outback Challenge

In 2012, the Canberra UAV Team successfully took first place in the prestigious UAV Outback Challenge . UAV’s significance to Australia in search and rescue missions and promoted growth in aerospace, government, and civilian applications. The CanberraUAV Team consisted of ArduPlane Developers and the airplane flown was controlled by APM 2 Autopilot. The UAV Outback Challenge was intended to provide a “lost” hiker. The CanberraUAV team and all subsequent teams failed to meet the requirement to drop a bottle of water on an intended target. However, the CanberraUAV team was placed first on a points system.

In 2014 the Canberra UAV Team and ArduPilot took first place again, by successfully delivering a bottle to the “lost” hiker. In 2016 ArduPilot placed first in the technically more challenging competition, ahead of strong competition from international teams.


The customizability of ArduPilot makes it very popular in the DIY field but it also gained popularity with professional users and companies. 3DRobotics’ Solo quad copter, for instance, uses ArduPilot, as well as PrecisionHawk and Kespry. The sensitivity of the camera to the receiver and the receiver of the receiver.

ArduPilot has been successfully integrated into many airplanes such as the Bixler 2.0. The ArduPilot is a multi-purpose, multi-mission, The Mission Planner (Windows) is an arduous interface that allows you to configure and manage your system.


  1. Jump up^ “Community: – ArduPilot documentation” . . Retrieved 2017-04-30 .
  2. Jump up^ “UAV Challenge on BBC> Click” . UAV Challenge . 2016-11-21. Retrieved 2017-05-01 .
  3. Jump up^ “IMAV2016” . . Retrieved 2017-04-30 .
  4. Jump up^ “IMAV 2016 Debrief” . AKAMAV Blog . 2017-01-06 . Retrieved 2017-04-30 .
  5. Jump up^ “Choosing a Ground Station – Rover documentation” . . Retrieved 2017-04-30 .
  6. Jump up^ “ArduPilot / ardupilot” . GitHub . Retrieved 2017-05-01 .
  7. Jump up^ “Please welcome ArduPilotMega 2.0!” . . Retrieved 2017-05-01 .
  8. Jump up^ “Linux and the future of drones []” . . Retrieved 2017-05-05 .
  9. Jump up^ Press (2013-08-29). “PX4 and 3D Robotics present Pixhawk: An Advanced, User-Friendly Autopilot – sUAS News – The Business of Drones” . SUAS News – The Business of Drones . Retrieved 2017-05-01 .
  10. Jump up^ “First successful flight powered by Zynq processor – Aerotenna” . Aerotenna . 2015-10-08 . Retrieved 2017-05-05 .
  11. Jump up^ “Flight Modes – Copter documentation” . . Retrieved 2017-05-01 .
  12. Jump up^ “ArduCopter V1 Beta” . . Retrieved 2017-05-01 .
  13. Jump up^ “ArduPilot, an open source autopilot, now available ($ 24.95!) – RC Groups” . . Retrieved 2017-05-08 .
  14. Jump up^ “2009 AVC – AVC.SFE” . . Retrieved 2017-05-03 .
  15. Jump up^ Developer | APM open source autopilot
  16. Jump up^ Drones Makers Get Help From the Open Source Crowd
  17. Jump up^ Developer | APM open source autopilot
  18. Jump up^ “First flight of ArduPilot on Linux” . . Retrieved 2017-05-03 .
  19. Jump up^ “Introducing the Dronecode Foundation” . . Retrieved 2017-05-03 .
  20. Jump up^ “ArduPilot and DroneCode part ways” . . Retrieved 2017-05-03 .
  21. Jump up^ Mac, Ryan. “Behind The Crash Of 3D Robotics, North America’s Most Promising Drone Company” . Forbes . Retrieved 2017-05-03 .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *