OpenPilot Project

Project Overview


The project was started by David Ankers [ ], Angus Peart [ ] and Vassilis Varveropoulos [ ] in late 2009. OpenPilot was conceived as both a learning tool and to address areas the developers perceived were lacking in other small UAV autopilots.

OpenPilot was designed from the very start as a community project and to be open from day one, it is also meant to be a great deal of fun and to this end we decided to take money out of the equation. As this is a project by the community and for the community we decided to sell the hardware ourselves for the cheapest possible price and every single cent from hardware sales goes back in to the project.

Its all in the details

The amount of attention to detail that has gone in to OpenPilot is one of its key assets, before this project began officially there was a great deal of planning and testing performed, based on this work a detailed specification was written. Hopefully as you review the details of the OpenPilot platform you will realise this and see what a powerful platform OpenPilot is.

We are very proud of the OpenPilot Hardware [ ], much work has gone in to this area and the results of this dedication is, in our opinion, world beating.

Easy of Use

Easy of use is one of the areas which has been given special attention, from things like not requiring drivers to connect the OpenPilot to Windows, Mac or Linux via USB, to full translation support for the GCS.

It is not only easy of use for users, there has been attention to easy of use for developers as well, OpenPilot uses a hardware abstraction layer in both the OpenPilot and the AHRS firmware called PiOS [ ]. This layer hides a lot of the complexity of hardware access and enables developers to achive results much faster.

Open Source

All code from the OpenPilot project is released under the GPLv3 except for the ground station framework which is released under the more liberal LGPL license. The reason for this is so plugins can be developed under difference licenses but still be used with the OpenPilot GCS framework, it simply gives developers more choice. Some developers may wish to add additional clauses to their license or even make a commercial closed source plugin, with the GCS framework being under the LGPL this is all possible. At this point in time, although the framework is released under the LGPL the majority of the GCS plugins are released under the GPLv3.

Despite being an Open Source project all the core developers have extensive experience of running or working within well run professional projects, we are trying to bring that level of quality and dedication to OpenPilot.


The OpenPilot GCS [ ] is designed to be a multi-platform environment, it currently runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. Additionally all parts of OpenPilot platform can be compiled and developed on Windows, Mac and Linux, please see the Development [ ] page for more information.

Additionally mobile GCS applications are planned with work already begun on a GCS implementation for the IPhone_Application [ ] and a implementation planned for the Google Android platform.

Copyright 2010