Even if we don’t consider the military applications of drones, the UAV industry has been able to attract a lot of investors and their dollars in the recent years. Whether it is a certain online marketplace which plans on using UAVs for delivering packages directly to its consumers, or a certain company which is working to provide medicine and other supplies to remote places using UAVs compensating for the lack of developed roads in that country, UAVs are increasingly becoming mainstream, and wide adaptability and publicity they receive is also ‘helping the cause’. Although a number of those UAVs are open source, they are maintained by different organizations making them nonviable for projects requiring collaboration between different developers.
Enters Dronecode, a collaboration between 3D Robotics, Linux Foundation and a few others to provide a nonprofit structure for bringing together existing open source drone projects and assets.
According to their website, the Dronecode Project is an open source, collaborative project that brings together existing and future open source drone projects under a nonprofit structure governed by The Linux Foundation. The result will be a common, shared open source platform for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
Dronecode Project’s website lists big names in technology sector such as Baidu, Box, DroneDeploy, Intel, jDrones, Laser Navigation, Qualcomm, SkyWard, Squadrone System, Walkera and Yuneec as the founding members.
As of now, Dronecode is being used by the likes of Agribotix, Airdog, Amazon, DroneDeploy, Hexo+, HobbyKing, Horizon Precision Agriculture, Jdrones, PocketDrone, PrecisionHawk, VirtualRobotix, VulcanUAV, Walkera, and Yuneec.
So, what exactly is Dronecode?
Think of it as a GitHub for UAV related projects, you can host your open source UAV project over there, make edits to the software you or others have developed and release it for the use of the community at large.
Right now, Dronecode’s core projects include APM/ArduPilot and PX4.
ArduPilot is an open source unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platform, able to control autonomous multicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, traditional helicopters and ground rovers, and PX4 is an independent, open-source, open-hardware project aiming at providing a high-end autopilot to the academic, hobby and industrial communities (BSD licensed) at low costs and high availability.
Andrew Tridgell will chair the Dronecode Project’s Technical Steering Committee (TSC), and Chris Anderson will serve as Chairman of the board of Dronecode for the first two year. The rest of the board will be comprised of members of the project and technical community members, and there will be one representative per Founding Member plus elected representative(s) from Gold, Silver and Technical Community Members. Gold and Silver along with Platinum are membership types offered by Dronecode Project.