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10.16.2014

Linux Foundation’s Dronecode Project takes off

Non-profit technology consortium Linux Foundation is boosting the development of open sourced software for non-military unmanned aerial vehicles (also referred to as drones) with the launch of code development initiative called Dronecode Project.

The Dronecode Project aims to bring together existing open source drone projects and assets under a non-profit structure governed by the Linux Foundation and create a shared open source platform for UAVs.

The development of drone technology has dramatically grown in the last couple of years. Drones are becoming widely accepted in a variety of industries and are finding deployment outside of military and defense applications in areas such as search and rescue, agriculture and surveying. Drones are also being used to gather information vital to data analysis.

Aerospace market research firm The Teal Group estimates that within 10 years the amount of money spent on research, development and testing of drone technology could reach $90 billion.

“Open source software and collaborative development are advancing technologies in the hottest, most cutting-edge areas. The Dronecode Project is a perfect example of this,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation. “By becoming a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project, the Dronecode community will receive the support required of a massive project right at its moment of breakthrough.”

“The result will be even greater innovation and a common platform for drone and robotics open source projects,” he said.

Founding members of Dronecode include 3D Robotics, Baidu, Box, DroneDeploy, Intel, jDrones, Laser Navigation, Qualcomm, SkyWard, Squadrone System, Walkera and Yuneec.

Dronecode includes the APM/ArduPilot UAV software platform and associated code, which until now has been hosted by 3D Robotics, a world leader in advanced UAV autopilot and autonomous vehicle control.

The company was co-founded by Chris Anderson, formerly editor-in-chief of Wired and the author of the bestselling books “The Long Tail,” “Free” and “Makers: The New Industrial Revolution.”

The Dronecode Project will also incorporate the partner PX4 project, led by Lorenz Meier from ETH, the Technical University of Zurich.  The PX4 is an independent, open source, open hardware project for providing high-end autopilot technology to the academic, hobby and industrial communities.

Andrew Tridgell will become the chair of the Dronecode Project’s technical steering committee (TSC) and have a seat on the board. He is a lead maintainer in the development of APM/ArduPilot and is well recognized for his contributions to the open source software community, including his work as the author of the Samba file server.

More than 1,200 developers are working on Dronecode with more than 150 code commits a day on some projects, according to the Linux Foundation.

Examples of projects include APM/ArduPilot, Mission Planner, MAVLink and DroidPlanner.

The platform has been adopted by many of the organizations on the forefront of drone technology, including Skycatch, DroneDeploy, HobbyKing, Horizon Ag, PrecisionHawk, Agribotix, and Walkera, among others.

Read the original story by Nestor Arellano, here.