Newsletter – April 2017

By May 9, 2017 February 24th, 2019 Announcements




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Dear Dronecode Members,

Last month the Dronecode TSC held our first face-to-face planning meeting for some time. The meeting was extremely productive, and we’ve returned re-energised and with a better-aligned vision for TSC and working group activities. There’s a lot to report, so without further ado …

1. TSC Planning meeting update

The Dronecode TSC face-to-face meeting was held at Intel Headquarters in Hillsboro, Oregon. This was an opportunity for members to share their contributions and successes, and for the whole team to sit down (or join remotely!) and really align our vision on the best ways for the project to move forward.

The meeting started with an overview of the project vision, and demonstrated our progress in terms of contribution and adoption. We also had reports from each of the working groups and two of the main platform projects (PX4 and QGC). 

We were also very fortunate to get a demo from the Microsoft AirSim team. For those of you who missed all the fanfare in previous weeks, Microsoft have developed an advanced real-world simulator for robotics and infomatics, and it already allows testing of the Dronecode stack! Below is a photo of Microsoft are showing it to some of us us at Intel Portland.

A big thanks to Intel for providing such a great venue and warm hospitality for the meeting! You can find out a bit more about the day in our Technical Steering Commitee March Update.

2. Working group updates

The Dronecode working groups have all been very busy, and we’ve started providing monthly update blogs so you can track progress more conveniently. Below are just a few highlights:

  • Safety working group (monthly update)
    • We are currently seeking a Dronecode system-based FAA waiver for operations beyond those permitted under the regular Part 107 rules. This application can then be the foundation of a process for certifying Dronecode-based UAVs.
  • Camera working group (monthly update)
    • We’ve merged general MAVLink camera and gimbal API improvements and also Optical Flow support for Bebop.
    • Qualcomm have provided links to their platform independent Camera APIs for consideration and comment from TSC and Camera WG.
    • We’d also like review of the new Camera Streaming Daemon – please join the discussion here.
  • Messaging Working Group
    • Over the last year we’ve been evaluating middleware solutions for communication between GCS, drone, cloud, and between processes running on the vehicle. In the last month(s) eProsima have started to implement a key part of our proposed solution: a bridge between uORB and RTPS.
  • Docs Working Group
    • The docs working group was formed a few weeks ago to improve the Dronecode and project sites, along with developer and user documentation. At the moment we’re in the early stages of evaluating what work needs to be done.
  • UX Working Group.
    • This is the newest working group and was approved at the last TSC meeting. The UXWG will look for opportunities to improve the DroneCode User Experience.  UXWG will aim to guide and deliver UX resources that ease, simplify and accelerate development and usage for developers, end users and company adopters. We encourage member companies to participate in this workgroup, which will kick off shortly.

3. Contributions

While quieter than last month’s record contributions, we’ve still had more than 250 commits to master and close to 14000 changed lines against PX4 (additions and deletions). A great result!

4. Flight Testing

The team got two new Dropix VTOL. Standard test vehicles now include:

  • Pixhawk: quadcopter, fixed-wing airframes and VTOL

  • Intel Aero: quadcopter

  • Snapdragon Flight: quadcopter

Stats (Feb 10 – Mar 10):

  • 264 commits tested.
  • 71 total flights.
    • Pixhawk (DJI F450): 60
    • Pixhawk (QAV 250): 1
    • Pixhawk (Generic Quad): 4
    • Snapdragon (200qx): 2
    • Intel Aero RTF: 4
  • 4 daily flights (average).
  • 1 major issues found.
  • 2 PR’s tested.
  • 9 vehicles total.

We’ve also added 2 new VTOL vehicles to our test fleet.

The test team also contributed a complete build log of their new QAV250 test machine, making it very easy for other users to set up a similar system. You can view that here:

5. New features

A brand new Collision Avoidance Library has been created. We’d really appreciate your reviews and discussion here.

That’s it for this month’s update. Lots more coming in the next 30 days!

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Hamish Willee

Author Hamish Willee

Hamish is the Dronecode Technical Content expert! You can find out more about him here:

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