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DRONELIFE spoke with Roche about the exponential growth of open source drone projects – and why he’s looking forward to next month’s event.
The Dronecode Foundation
The Dronecode Foundation is a vendor neutral organization supporting the development of the PX4 Autopilot, MavLink, Mav SDK, and Q Ground Control platforms. “Vender neutral” is an important concept as the drone industry hits its stride, Roche explains.
Vendors are working to solve critical problems in drone operations – and these solutions will benefit the entire industry. “In the drone industry, there are a lot of different ways to do the same thing. The idea behind creating a vendor neutral foundation is to create a safe place for vendors to come together to solve problems, without having to do all of the work on their own.
They’re also working to create strong standardization that will allow an entire ecosystem of hardware, sensors, and software to work together – in concept, something like the idea of Android phone systems.
“We’re the non-profit behind that work. We’re working on creating open standards, which can provide end users with more choice – and help manufacturers to add real value in the hardware ecosystem. The ability to swap out a payload, for example, means that end users get more value out of their hardware, which benefits manufacturers, vendors and pilots down the line.”
The Dronecode Foundation verifies standards with manufacturers, electronically in the software, to help them achieve 100 percent compatibility. “It gives customers options, and it helps the vendors because customers stick with customers that give them more options.”
As the drone industry grows and continues to focus in on solving critical business problems, open source solutions offer vendors a way to leverage work that’s already been done so that they can add maximum value in their specific offering.
“We’re seeing an increase in people adopting open source,” says Roche. “We’ve always had supporters and people who believed in open source – but now we see that people are putting logos on their booths and really advertising their connection with open source. It speaks to the tangible value that companies are seeing in this work. It’s to everyone’s benefit to create an ecosystem – we can solve problems together.”
The PX4 Autopilot Developer Summit
The PX4 Autopilot Developer Summit will take place remotely or in person in Austin TX June 23 -24. It’s the major event for open source developers and manufacturers: a chance to share ideas, learn and report progress.
The conference has grown since its inception. “It’s our fourth conference – we are expecting a lot of software and hardware engineers from our community, and a lot of companies are sending engineers for training. Companies will tell us how they are implementing and using these technologies – and explain what they’re working on for the future.”
“We’ll get to see demonstrations of new hardware built with open standards, and many manufacturers who want to build to open standards will be there. It really is the main event for our community – we see the summit as the place where we get together to see what’s going to happen next, and to put those plans in place.”
The work is important. But so is the community.
“We’re a worldwide community, and it’s great to see the faces behind the avatars online,” Roche says. “We get to see in person the people we know from Github, or Slack. We always look forward to the parties and, of course, the PX4 cake.
“We’re all remote, we all work for different companies – and we all look forward to meeting each other.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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