PX4 and 3D Robotics present Pixhawk: An Advanced, User-Friendly Autopilot

By PX4 [ http://diydrones.com/profile/PX4 ]


August 29, 2013

Almost exactly one year after the first PX4 announcement, we would like to introduce our newest member of the family, Pixhawk [ https://pixhawk.ethz.ch/px4/modules/pixhawk ] ! For those familiar with the existing PX4 electronics, it is the all-in-one board combining PX4FMU + PX4IO, combined with a processor and sensor update and a number of new features. The current board revisions will however remain in full service and active development and are fully compatible. Pixhawk is designed for improved ease of use and reliability while offering unprecedented safety features compared to existing solutions.

Pixhawk is designed by the PX4 open hardware project [ https://pixhawk.ethz.ch/px4/en/start ] and manufactured by 3D Robotics [ http://3drobotics.com ]. It features the latest processor and sensor technology from ST Microelectronics which delivers incredible performance and reliability at low price points.

The flexible PX4 middleware running on the NuttX Real-Time Operating System [ http://www.nuttx.org ] brings multithreading and the convenience of a Unix / Linux like programming environment to the open source autopilot domain, while the custom PX4 driver layer ensures tight timing. These facilities and additional headroom on RAM and flash will allow Pixhawk the addition of completely new functionalities like programmatic scripting of autopilot operations.

The PX4 project offers its own complete flight control stack, and projects such as APM:Copter and APM:Plane have ported their software to run as flight control applications. This allows existing APM users to seamlessly transition to the new Pixhawk hardware and lowers the barriers to entry for new users to participate in the exciting world of autonomous vehicles.

The flagship Pixhawk module will be accompanied by new peripheral options, including a digital airspeed sensor, support for an external multi-color LED indicator and an external magnetometer. All peripherals are automatically detected and configured.


Specifications Interfaces Power System and Protection Dimensions


This announcement is a service to our users and developers to allow them to plan their hardware roadmaps in time, and to show what we're currently working on. The board will not be immediately available, but 3D Robotics is taking pre-orders for Pixhawk now [ https://store.3drobotics.com/products/3dr-pixhawk/ ], and will begin shipping in late October [Update 11/11: the current expected ship date is late Nov]. The price is $199.99.


by Chris Anderson [ http://diydrones.com/profile/zlitezlite ]

August 29, 2013

One additional note: Pixhawk will be supported by a brand-new cross-platform (Mac, Windows, Linux) GCS/Setup application, which will be announced in a few weeks.


by Greg Dronsky [ http://diydrones.com/profile/Dronsky ]

August 30, 2013

Chris Anderson wrote:
"One additional note: Pixhawk will be supported by a brand-new cross-platform (Mac, Windows, Linux) GCS/Setup application, which will be announced in a few weeks."

This is great news for all Mac users.Will it be a new app or updated Mission Planner?

Does it mean we can also expect iPad app? I almost bought an Android tablet only for Droid Planner.

And about the df-13 plugs, i think it would be a fair and simple solution to support a Pixhawk cable set in a low price. I would feel much better knowing i have a spare cable, or two.

Anyway, can't wait for GCS for mac!


by Chris Anderson

August 30, 2013

Greg: it will look a lot like the Mission Planner, but the guts are closer to QGroundControl in multi-UAV architecture and code. The iPad and other iOS apps are complicated by Apple's restrictions on what devices can plug into Apple hardware. The FightingWalrus guys should have a solution to that soon.


by Greg Dronsky

August 30, 2013

Nice! I really like the tempo of progress at 3DR!

Will there be also a possibility to connect an APM to this new GCS or it's dedicated to Pixhawk?

I hope FightingWalrus the best, they are doing a very cool project.


by Chris Anderson

August 30, 2013

Greg: Yes, it will support all 3DR boards, old and new.


by AKcopter [ http://diydrones.com/profile/zaccorvettez06efron ]

October 20, 2013

I am very impatient to adopt the PX4 platform and looking at the speed at which the development of the APM copter software is going, the hardware constraints are really creating a hurdle more than being a challenge for the coders to write more efficient code...the road to a more efficient and tested code is to at least have the headroom to write an experimental code and test its effectiveness in the real world..once the experimental bit is considered to be feasible enough to implement ...Then the code can be eventually made better and more efficient as time progresses...Right now the inability to follow this trial and error method of implementation is causing the hurdles in the process of including new features at the same time retaining the already existing features due to hardware constraints....the PX4 is a fresh new hardware which will facilitate fast firmware development....the hardware was designed keeping research in mind in the first place ....so I am sure that the PX4 is the future of the APM project....


by AKcopter

October 20, 2013

I am confused about the differences between the PX4 and the Pixhawk...all I have been able to figure out is that the clock speed and the MCU used for main processing as well as the failsafe features are the same in both of them...also that the RAM is 256 KB in the pixhawk instead of 196 KB in the PX4 how can that be if the MCU's used are the same ???......also the flash is 2MB in the Pixhawk while it is 1MB in the PX4?? Its very confusing....and what about the solid state relays used in the PX4IO module there is nothing of that sort in the Pixhawk....what are the differences....there seems to be some confusion when to comes to the number of I2C, CAN and USART buses....what is the difference when it comes to the PWM outputs....to make the question simple...... would it be better to buy a PX4 or a Pixhawk...please I am in a real fix here??


by Chris Anderson

October 20, 2013

AKcopter: Aside from increased memory and better sensors, the main advantage of Pixhawk is that it's easier to use: one board in an enclosure with simplified software support. This is the main PX4-based board going forward and is the best choice.


by Florian Eckert [ http://diydrones.com/profile/FlorianEckert ]

October 29, 2013

Now im really ******!
Got an email from my local reseller, who told me that the Pixhawk will be shipped in late november! I already sold my multiwii flightboard. Can somebody tell me when the Pixhawk will be shipped and why the delivery date was moved?
Please more informations!


by Lorenz Meier [ http://diydrones.com/profile/LorenzMeier ]

October 29, 2013

Hi all,

The PX4 (and APM) team has been working quite hard to feed back the experience from the Iris developer order into the production version of Pixhawk, and as others have pointed out this will ensure you get a better product than if it would be rushed out. I think the communicated new date is with some safety margin, and so you should not assume that it will be pushed out further.

I'm personally not a big fan of pre-announcements with lead-times in the months scale for that matter, since it is very hard to estimate in the engineering process if something is going to take 8 or 10 weeks.


by Manuel Ramos [ http://diydrones.com/profile/ManuelRamos ]

November 11, 2013

Manuel: We have hundreds of them out there already in the Iris Developer Edition, and we're using the feedback from those beta testers to make both hardware and software changes to increase reliability, ranging from improved USB drivers to improved power systems. We want this to be the most tested and reliable board we've ever shipped, so we're going to do at least one more hardware rev and test it throughly before releasing it. That is currently targeted for the end of Nov, which is approximately 30 days later than originally planned.



by Alan Roberts [ http://diydrones.com/profile/AlanRoberts ]

November 21, 2013

I'm keen to receive the Pixhawk I've ordered, but as I understand it, only one date has slipped.

As far as I'm aware, it was originally intended to be shipped at the end of October.

Then it was changed to the end of November.

If we're being told that they should be in EVERYONE's hands sometime in December, and shipping delays to some places can take weeks. Then shipping is still holding as the end of November isn't it?



by Chris Anderson

November 21, 2013

Alan: the latest rev of the boards went to batch early this week. Assuming that they all pass QA, we're looking at shipping in about two weeks. Lots of small improvements, mostly on making the power supply more robust and adding a second set of sensors for dual-IMU opportunities in the next-gen code. Good stuff!


by Chris Anderson

December 8, 2013

Pixhawk will start shipping this week. Announcement on Monday or Tues.


by Thomas J Coyle III [ http://diydrones.com/profile/ThomasJCoyleIII ]

December 11, 2013

Hi All,

Chris is good to his word. I just received my Pixhawk this morning courtesy of FedEx. Way to go Chris and 3DR!!!


TCIII ArduRover2 Developer


By Butch Lucas [ http://diydrones.com/profile/ButchLucas ]

December 18, 2013

I kinda expected mine to be in the mail after reading that TCIII had already received his. A week later and still NADA, what 's up 3DR? Unless I'm mistaken (and I could well be), I preordered one the day the notification went out that we could preorder them. I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining but rather I am just concerned I fell though the cracks and my preorder was somehow missed. I've gotten emails telling me shipping was to be soon; that has been several times over the last couple of months and still nothing telling me it has been shipped. Here's hoping it makes it by Christmas. I hope all of you that have received yours get some great flying in this holiday season. Happy Holidays to ALL!


by Chris Anderson

December 18, 2013

Butch, Tom is a developer and got a pre-release version. The consumer ones started shipping this week, in the order that orders were received. There are more than a 1,000 going out, and even at a rate of 100 a day it will take a couple weeks for the last of the pre-orders to be filled.


by Chris Anderson

December 26, 2013

Just to repeat, all the Pixhawks will be sent by the first full week of Jan. There were many hundreds of orders on the announcement date, and yours should be going out next week.


Copyright 2013 http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/px4-and-3d-robotics-present-pixhawk-an-advanced-user-friendly