Technical Steering Committee – June 2017 Update

By June 1, 2017TSC

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.

Status Updates

Working Group Updates

The TSC Working Groups provide brief summary updates here. More detailed monthly status updates may be found in the Dronecode blog here.

SDK Working Group

The Dronecode SDK WG is tasked to develop a Drone Application Development SDK. This SDK should allow developers to create drone “applications” that can run on mobile devices (tablets, phones) and on-board companion computers, and that can also seamlessly integrate drones with cloud-based services. The evaluation will consider Python, C++ and Android Developer APIs, including options like ROS, DroneKit etc., and also integration with Simulation environments.

We are currently seeking members for the working group. If you have experience with developer APIs for drones we’d love to hear from you. You can join the conference call for more information.

Achievements this month:

  • Performed comparative analysis of a number of current available SDKs.
  • Based on the analysis, the open source AirLib API was chosen for further experimentation/exploration (this is part of Microsoft’s AirSim simulator)
  • Identified additional AirLib features required for DroneCode SDK.

Plan for next month:

  • Start to hold meetings and build membership.
  • Select developer API.
  • If AirLib is selected:
    • Make base version of AirLib available for all users as part of Dronecode (process/approval permitting).
    • Implement a Mission Manager (adds mission handling to the AirLib API).
  • Start developing SDK documentation

Camera API Working Group

The Camera API WG is focused on platform independent developer APIs for cameras and remote control of camera and gimbal.

The current status of work is:

  • Updated proposal for MAVLink messages discussion ongoing in http://discuss.px4.io/t/mavlink-camera-api-discussion/3278/20
  • Camera Streaming Daemon received support for those messages and an initial WIP patch integrating this into QGC has been sent upstream for discussion: https://github.com/mavlink/qgroundcontrol/pull/5271
  • Major point pending a decision is on how to share information about camera capabilities and features supported.
  • Next steps include trying to implement one proposal among the initial ones of how to share camera capabilities information and submitting support for that on MAVLink, Camera Streaming Daemon and QGroundControl for wider testing.

Messaging WG

The Messaging Working Group has evaluated middleware solutions for communication between GCS, drone, cloud, ROS, and between processes running on the vehicle.  Following selection of the eProsima FastRTPS solution, the group is progressing with integration of FastRTPS into the platform.

The following achievements have been made this month.

  • Implementation of the full uORB <-> FastRTPS transparent bridge prototype is complete.
  • Testing and performance validation have started (ongoing)
  • Deployment on Intel Aero targeted in next release
  • Porting effort on Snapdragon has started.

Safety WG

The Safety Working Group expect Intel to be the first member to submit a DC-based FAA Application. We’re hoping to get the draft for this application reviewed by the FAA within the next four weeks (official submission may take longer).

Other information:

  • Airmap and 3DR are meeting this week to coordinate discussions
  • The WG welcomes a new member Zongbo Wang (Aerotenna).

User Experience (UX) WG

This month the UX WG started classifying members according to clusters (in order to guide the evolution of our platform roadmap):

  • Our initial classification document is here classification document is here. This is a work in progress, but we would love your feedback (please comment within the document).
  • In order to inform the classification we’ve created an online survey. Please complete this and share it with other members of the drone community.

The WG have agreed the following organisational changes:

  • Meeting will be held monthly on 26th day, 9am (pacific time).
  • Contributions will continue happen offline through Google Drive comments and slack channel.
  • Updates will also be posted on the wiki.

Next month we plan to report the results of the survey. We also intend to present a proposal for DC and projects branding.

Code Quality Working Group

The Code Quality WG  is focused on ways to provide incremental improvements to Dronecode project code quality and testing. This month we have expanded some of the test plans for the flight test team.