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Dronecode Newsletter : August 2017

By August 2, 2017January 28th, 2018Announcements

August Newsletter

Dear Dronecode Members,

This month saw the release of QGroundControl 3.2, the Dronecode roadmap, and the UX working group survey results. We’re also very excited to announce that Dronecode will be presenting at InterDrone next month. Read below to find all the news!

Platform release: QGroundControl 3.2

This month we released QGroundControl 3.2, which can now be downloaded from the site.

The release delivers many new features and is particularly significant because it is the first stable release that allows users to easily access all the new updates to the Dronecode flight stack.

A few highlights include the addition of survey missions, easier access to guided actions from the toolbar, better support for multiple vehicle control, and enabling third party customization/versions of QGroundControl.

For more information check out the detailed release notes (or see the cumulative release notes for a quick overview).

Dronecode roadmap now available

Since our last newsletter we’ve added high-level sidebar links between all our documentation libraries so, for example, it is much easier to find QGroundControl documentation when you’re in the PX4 User Guide (see the documentation update blog!)

As part of our effort to provide more visibility on the planned evolution of the platform, we’re  now publishing a public roadmap. This currently extends to March next year and provides high-level updates on the next few significant releases.

Check it out on the Dronecode site (linked from the “Platform” page): Roadmap & Feature Overview


We’re going to Interdrone!

Dronecode’s Lorenz Meier and Ramon Roche will be speaking at Interdrone about how to create end-to-end solutions using the Dronecode Platform. They’ll be covering the platform, PX4, and the tools that surround our ecosystem.

The talk is on Thursday, September 7th, and is open to everyone attending the conference.

Note that the speakers will be available to meet our community and discuss how we can best work together.

More than 185 UAV Vendors Flying in to Las Vegas

You’re invited to dive deep into the world of commercial drones coming to Las Vegas, September 6-8. InterDrone is the world’s largest dedicated commercial UAV event and we’ve got a super discount for you:

Save an Extra $100 off any Conference Registration with the code: SKYE

Dive into the hottest topics in Agriculture, Construction, Emergency Services, Cinematography, Mining and Aggregates, Inspection, Mapping, and more with the 125+ sessions and panels at the show. Then cruise the exhibit hall and check out the 185+ vendors showcasing the latest hardware and pioneering software and services. Network at the evening reception, marvel at the InterDrone Film Festival, connect at the Women in Drones Luncheon and learn more at After Hours sessions. Put yourself at the center of the commercial drone revolution at InterDrone!

Be a part of the future and register today for a 3-Day All-Access Pass – and take an extra $100 off with the promo code: SKYE


UX Drone Survey results

The Dronecode UX working group survey results have now been published.

Among other things, the results have provided some useful insight into areas of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with our current offering (e.g. documentation), and into the technology areas where respondents see the greatest opportunities for investment. The UX team will be using the results as a springboard for further investigation on areas where we can improve.

Documentation updates

Since our last newsletter, we’ve made many updates and additions to the documentation. A few highlights include:

  • Updated toolchain instructions:

    • Linux. These deliver installation scripts that enable “turnkey” installation of the toolchain on Ubuntu.

    • Windows. These deliver scripts for setting up the environment on “Bash on Windows”. They also make it more clear that the Windows toolchain is not recommended.

  • Simulator introduction. This better helps users understand what Simulators are available, and where each might be preferred. It also explains the Simulation architecture.

  • New QGroundControl Joystick and virtual thumbstick docs

Working group updates

UX Working Group

  • Presented the results of our user survey. These will help us to understand what Dronecode members and the community are looking for from the project.

  • Presented a proposal for Dronecode and projects branding suggesting many interesting ideas and logo improvements.

  • Still looking at better using dronecode website analytics and integrating with the PX4 site analytics.

Camera API Working Group

  • Decided to use XML vs JSON. Did not want to deal with code in JSON for constraint management and security issues.

  • Prototyping continues, image capture supported so far. Video support is next.

  • Managing HW constraints is still TBD. Seems like a separate schema to overlay collections of cameras that share an ISP would be needed.

  • Discussed requirements for testing the new features. Extending the existing camera simulator seems like the best approach.

  • Discussion at:

  • Video Stream discovery over MAVLink:

SDK Working Group

  • The SDK WG has selected DroneLink (working name) as the basis for the new SDK.

    • The code should be made available very shortly.

  • Cloud and Mobile APIs are the current focus.

    • Supported language bindings are being discussed.

Messaging Working Group

Safety Working Group

  • No update.

Code Quality WG

  • Held first Code Quality WG meeting and decided to meet bi-weekly.

  • Outlined objectives of the WG for new participants.

  • Discussed

    • Testing needed.

    • Design patterns for drivers.

    • How to stage code that hasn’t yet received broad in-flight testing.

    • Getting/producing unit tests for submitted code.

  • CQWG tag in Github is now available.

  • A GitHub project will be set up for Code Quality WG for issue management

  • Will be working on setting up docker container for last 2 versions of ROS for testing missions.

  • Met with FAA representative to get input on requirements for compliance and discussed how to possibly make it easier for Dronecode adopters to certify their solutions.


This month two new point releases were made to the new PX4 v1.6 release (1.64 and 1.65). The project pulse shows we’ve merged 73 PRs (+24) and closed 69 issues (+12). 10965 lines were added and 6137 were deleted.

Flight Testing.

These are the flight testing stats since the last newsletter (July 14 –  July 31):

Hamish Willee

Author Hamish Willee

Hamish is the Dronecode Technical Content expert! You can find out more about him here:

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