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Technical Steering Committee - March 2017 Update

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The TSC is responsible for managing the technical aspects of the Dronecode organization. The TSC oversees the Working Groups (WG) and provides an interface to the board to align Dronecode strategic and technical direction.

Accomplishments

The Dronecode TSC held a face-to-face meeting at Intel Headquarters in Hillsboro, Oregon. Intel provided excellent facilities and hospitality and the opportunity for Dronecode members and participants to share thoughts, share work they have done, and help to set an aligned vision for the Dronecode TSC and WG activities. People were also able to join remotely, and it worked very well. A big thanks again to Intel for providing the great venue for the meeting.

There are several active WGs. The WGs provide monthly status updates through the Dronecode blog. Here is a brief overview of the various WGs: 

Safety WG

One of the key elements of a full UAV software stack is ensuring that safety is built in at all levels — from the vehicle itself to the airspace, operator, ground and data. The Dronecode stack already has many of these elements in place on the aircraft side (e.g. fail-safes). Individual platform adopters, including drone manufacturers and service providers, have put in place other elements, such as airspace checking and communications link security. The Safety WG is taking a systems approach to safety, bringing completeness and coordination to the various layers and contributors to the stack via the Dronecode Working Group process. This approach is actively being encouraged by the FAA.

Camera WG

The Camera WG is focused on platform independent developer APIs for cameras and remote control of camera and gimbal. APIs under investigation include:

  • Remote Camera and Gimbal Control APIs
  • Video Streaming APIs
  • C/C++ developer camera APIs (FPV, Snapshot, Recording, Optic Flow, and Stereo)

Messaging WG

Middleware solution for communication between GCS, drone, cloud, and between onboard processes. Needs to scale to optimally support onboard communication, and in-process communication. On-board heterogeneous compute to be handled by a communication bridge. Evaluate ROS compatibility. 

Code Quality WG

The Code Quality WG is focused on ways to provide incremental improvements to Dronecode project code quality and testing.

There have been some recent activities to improve the code with Coverity and clang-tidy.

Documentation WG

The Documentation WG is looking at ways to overhaul the Dronecode and project sites and improve developer and user documentation.

Specifically, the group will be investigating how best to:

  • Create a compelling and unified Dronecode platform story across project websites
  • Document and updating the Dronecode roadmap and release cycle
  • Provide regular news and community updates
  • Deliver project messaging, marketing and enable member recruiting.
  • Improving user and development guide documentation
  • Enable translation of documentation and engage with translation communities

User Experience (UX) WG

This is the newest WG in Dronecode that was approved at the last TSC meeting.

  • The group will be coordinating with the Documentation WG
  • Previous work by the Intel participants have focused on QGC improvements and that would continue
  • The WG will look for opportunities to improve the User Experience of interacting with Dronecode documentation, platforms, developer channels, repositories, etc, and help to implement a continuous improvement process.

Challenges

TSC members are busy with their day-jobs and it's difficult to get focused attention on Dronecode issues.

Plan for next month

  • Hold monthly TSC meeting and provide monthly update
  • Summarize TSC activities for the Dronecode Board Meeting
  • Follow up on action times from last TSC meeting

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