3D Robotics and other drone makers have joined Intel and Qualcomm in an effort to formalize the creation of open-source hardware and software for the unmanned aerial vehicles.
Stephen Shanklandprincipal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertiseprocessors, semiconductors, web browsers, quantum computing, supercomputers, AI, 3D printing, drones, computer science, physics, programming, materials science, USB, UWB, Android, digital photography, scienceCredentials
I've been covering the technology industry for 24 years and was a science writer for five years before that. I've got deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and other dee
Such formalities may seem like a bother for the free-wheeling world of open-source projects, but they can make companies, universities, governments, and others more comfortable that a project is safe to adopt. Organizers expect Dronecode to help encourage drone use in environmental research, humanitarian work, and search and rescue.
The partnership reflects the growing maturity of drone technology. Most people are likely to encounter drones as fully-assembled products from companies such as Parrot or DJI. But a large group of do-it-yourself drone developers also build their own aircraft out of electronics components. Commercial drone use remains largely illegal in the US, but hobbyists have embraced them.
The combination of APM/ArduPilot and PX4 has let thousands of people do everything from Hollywood-quality aerial video to scanning buildings to make 3D models, said 3D Robotics Chief Executive Chris Anderson.
"It's a classic example of the power of democratizing a technology; we are entering the consumer and commercial drone age and I'm delighted that an open source platform is helping lead the way," he said in a statement. "Now that we have reached this level of adoption and maturity, it's time to adopt the best practices of other highly successful open-source projects, including professional management and governance structures, to ensure the continued growth and independence of these efforts."
Dronecode's technical steering committee chairman is Andrew "Tridge" Tridgell, a longtime open-source leader through his work with the Samba file-server software and now the lead maintainer of APM/ArduPilot.