Open Supply Drone Software program Tasks

open-source-drone-software-projectsWhether or not you’re constructing an FPV quad, a hard and fast wing drone or an octocopter, each drone fanatic will face the selection of which flight management software program to make use of. Chances are high, for those who’re constructing a drone you’ll additionally wish to use some type of open supply drone software program to run your drone’s flight management board.

Oh, and here’s a useful useful resource to assist you in building your own drone.

On this put up, we might be taking a look at among the finest open supply uav tasks on the market. After studying this, you’ll perceive which drone firmware tasks are viable for the drone you might be eager to create.

As Michael Bolton says in his well-known Lonely Island function, let’s get to it! (Have I efficiently completely confused Google relating to what the heck this web page is about??)


Greatest Open Supply Drone Tasks


Full disclosure: That is my favourite venture

Ardupilot was one of many early pioneers of open supply drone software program. The venture started on Arduino {hardware} (therefore the “Ardu” half), and has grown right into a powerhouse within the drone business.

A random historic observe, APM can also be used to check with ArduPilot software program.

The ArduPilot group is basically supportive, and their discussion board is a good software for getting concerned.

ArduPilot can work on many various kinds of autos, together with: multirotors, mounted wing planes, land rovers and even submarines. Ardupilot strives to make these autos purely autonomous.

There’s additionally a various assortment of flight controller boards that ArduPilot is suitable with. The ArduPilot flight stack is fairly superior, because it makes use of the favored MissionPlanner as the bottom management station and MAVLink because the middleware.

The open supply license that ArduPilot operates by is GPL, which basically implies that any adjustments which are made to the ArduPilot codebase must be added again to the dad or mum venture.

There’s a manner round this GPL requirement, as an organization might create their IP exterior of ArduPilot. Then they may preserve their innovation personal, whereas utilizing ArduPilot for the essential perform of drone management.

GPL might make ArduPilot much less engaging for companies wanting to guard their IP from opponents. Nonetheless, this hasn’t stopped drone giants like Matternet from utilizing the ArduPilot flight stack.

Whereas you need to use ArduPilot for some FPV quad purposes, usually it’s utilized by these wanting a drone that may fly autonomously.

I’ve written an in-depth overview of the ArduPilot flight stack for these .


  • Nice assist
  • Great amount of supported flight controllers. Ardupilot supported hardware boards
  • Very superior management algorithms
  • Works on many automobile varieties
  • GPL License means extra group pushed innovation to profit all customers


  • GPL license (Solely a con to contemplate for companies)
  • Not an incredible selection for FPV drone racing


PX4 is part of the Dronecode venture, a non-profit group administered by the Linux Basis. Dronecode goals to provide the rising drone business with a platform of open supply software program.

You wouldn’t need write a complete working system to create a solitaire app on Linux. Dronecode provides you with the ‘working system’ framework, releasing its customers for growing innovation on high of the platform.

An attention-grabbing anecdote is that ArduPilot was once the featured flight management software program venture in Dronecode, which has contributed to an ArduPilot vs PX4 semi-rivalry.

One of many founders of ArduPilot remarked on the flight management transplant by saying the “Platinum members (of the Dronecode venture) staged what can solely be referred to as a coup (in supplanting ArduPilot with PX4)”

PX4 got here out of the Pixhawk venture, which is an open supply {hardware} venture, as they wanted some open supply drone software program to run their boards.

One of many key distinctions between PX4 and ArduPilot is that it operates underneath the BSD license. This basically implies that for those who add a brand new function to the PX4 venture in a non-public fork, you don’t must push your adjustments again to the dad or mum PX4 venture.

This function makes PX4 extra engaging to companies seeking to defend their mental property. Resulting from this purpose, and their inclusion within the Dronecode venture, PX4 is getting far more funding for improvement work than ArduPilot.

PX4 can also be supported on a considerable amount of flight management boards. It additionally isn’t your best option for FPV quad fans, as it’s extra centered on autonomous drones.

All issues thought of, PX4 and ArduPilot are nonetheless fairly comparable when it comes to performance.


  • Nice assist
  • Trade backed venture
  • Supported on many flight controller boards. PX4 supported hardware boards 
  • Usable on many various automobile varieties
  • BSD License permits companies to guard their IP


  • BSD License. The venture will lose out on innovation getting pushed again to the primary department
  • Not a sensible choice for FPV racers


Now we’re entering into the FPV tasks and away from the autonomous drone tasks.

The BetaFlight flight controller software program is concentrated on the efficiency of guide flight, making it an incredible selection for FPV quad fanatics. It’s arguably the most well-liked open supply software program venture for FPV drones in the present day.

BefaFlight is primarily used with quadcopters, however can be utilized on mounted wing plane as nicely. It’s a extremely supported flight management software program venture on the favored FPV autopilot boards. Mainly, if the board is utilizing not less than an STM32F3 processor, then BetaFlight will in all probability be supported.

BetaFlight is totally open supply and has an enormous quantity of group assist behind the venture. There are tons of sources obtainable on-line for the inevitable issues it’s possible you’ll run into.

BetaFlight additionally helps the large RC merchandise like FrSky, FlySky and Graupner.


  • Supported on any autopilot {hardware} board utilizing not less than a STM32F3 processor. BetaFlight supported hardware boards
  • Nice group assist
  • Devoted to guide flight efficiency and security


  • Not relevant for autonomous drones (Probably not a con, only a reminder)


The CleanFlight software program venture can also be extraordinarily standard for FPV quad purposes.

It has its roots within the now deprecated MultiWii code, however has upgraded the firmware from an 8-bit to a 32-bit venture.

CleanFlight operates underneath the GPL license, so any adjustments should be pushed again to the primary department.

Very similar to BetaFlight, CleanFlight can also be supported on all kinds of autopilot boards, as it’s obtainable on 8 completely different boards.

Their documentation is superb and on-line sources huge, which can support any troubleshooting you will have.

Finally, CleanFlight and BetaFlight are very comparable, and selecting between the 2 may be a matter of desire. Very similar to Dr. Pepper vs Mr. Pibb.


  • Supported on any autopilot {hardware} board utilizing not less than a STM32F3 processor. CleanFlight supported hardware boards
  • Nice group assist
  • Devoted to guide flight efficiency and security


  • Not relevant for autonomous drones (Probably not a con, only a reminder)

Honorable FPV Software program Point out


The items of the OpenPilot venture changed into the LibrePilot venture. Whereas not as standard as CleanFlight and BetaFlight, it’s a viable choice for FPV quadcopters as nicely.

LibrePilot supported boards

Drone Flight Controllers

So now you’ve discovered in regards to the main open supply drone tasks. A subsequent step is perhaps figuring out which flight management board it would be best to use. In that case, checkout my checklist of the top autopilot boards available on the market.

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