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2022 Annual Report
The Year of the Drone

2022 was the Year of the Drone.

Well, at least it was at the Dronecode Foundation.

We can’t measure our success without knowing why we exist. We exist to enable organizations to build and run safe and scalable drone applications with modern and trusted solutions. We strive to empower developers to build reliable systems in an open ecosystem. We come together to collaborate on the core systems and innovate on top of them.

Pixhawk and PX4 are now ubiquitous drone technologies. They help create an ecosystem of interoperability, which leads to users having more choice and flexibility. Creating an open drone ecosystem around these technologies was the goal, and it’s finally happening!

All of this is made possible through our thriving community of developers, component manufacturers, solution and service providers, and even enterprise distributions.

There are proprietary drone solutions out there, but the innovation and technological backbone on which they rely are thanks to open technologies. It took a while to get here, but we’re at a point where the benefits of an open ecosystem are visible and growing fast.

Companies now see the benefits of using open technologies. What was a foundation for the drone industry is now being infused into every crevice of the ecosystem.

This past year, two of our top supporting companies sat down to share real-world examples of how the open ecosystem is spurring innovation and adoption:

The Value of Open Source

There are proprietary drone solutions out there, but the innovation and technological backbone on which they rely are thanks to open technologies. It took a while to get here, but we’re at a point where the benefits of an open ecosystem are visible and growing fast.

Companies now see the benefits of using open technologies. What was a foundation for the drone industry is now being infused into every crevice of the ecosystem.

This past year, two of our top supporting companies sat down to share real-world examples of how the open ecosystem is spurring innovation and adoption:

Freefly Systems

Max Tubman from Freefly Systems discusses open standards and how it is enabling interoperability of various payloads amongst partners in the Open Ecosystem.

Watts Innovations

In this interview, Bobby Watts of Watts Innovations explains the power of standardization and how it has streamlined their interoperability with other ecosystem partners like Gremsy and Drone Rescue Systems.

A Brief History

It all started back in 2011 with the birth of PX4, an open-source flight control software for drones and other unmanned vehicles. It was developed by a team of engineers at ETH Zurich, a Swiss university, and quickly gained popularity in the drone community.

Fast forward a few years to 2014, and the Dronecode Foundation was created. It’s an independent, non-profit organization that aims to promote and develop open-source projects for drones and other unmanned vehicles. The Foundation is made up of a community of developers, manufacturers, and users who all share a common goal of advancing drone technology.

One of the key milestones for the Dronecode Foundation came in 2019 when MAVSDK was moved under the MAVLink project. MAVSDK is a set of libraries and tools for developers to create applications for drones, while MAVLink is a messaging protocol that allows different components of a drone system to communicate with each other. Bringing these two projects under one umbrella has made it easier for developers to create powerful, integrated drone applications.

In 2021, the Dronecode Foundation launched multiple Pixhawk Standards, including the Payload Bus Standard. This is a new standard that defines how payload modules can be connected to a drone’s flight controller. It’s a big step forward in the world of drone payloads, as it allows for more flexibility and interoperability between different payload modules.

And finally, as of 2022, the Dronecode Foundation has over 33 participating members and is still growing. This community of developers, manufacturers, and users is dedicated to advancing the state of the art in drone technology, and the foundation has become an important hub for open-source drone projects.

From the birth of PX4 to the launch of the unified Pixhawk Standards, this community has made some major strides in advancing drone technology. Who knows what the future holds, but one thing’s for sure: the Dronecode Foundation will be at the forefront of it all.


2011: Birth of PX4
2014: Dronecode Foundation creation
2019: MAVSDK now under MAVLink project
2021: Launch of Pixhawk Standards: Payload Bus Standard, FMUv5X
2022: Dronecode Foundation has over 33 participating members and growing

Our Community

The open-source community supporting the Dronecode Foundation is a critical driving force behind the innovation and progress of the drone industry. The momentum behind this movement is palpable, with new projects and initiatives constantly being developed and launched. As the drone industry continues to evolve and mature, the open-source community supporting the Dronecode Foundation will undoubtedly play a key role in shaping its future.

In Memory of Stone White

In 2022 we lost a valuable member of the community. Stone White was a passionate advocate for open-source drone software and was instrumental in the growth of the PX4 project. He was also a dedicated mentor and teacher, helping to train and support a new generation of drone developers. He also was instrumental in establishing the PX4 community in China. His impact will be felt for years to come.

Thanks to everyone from our community who helped contribute to honoring his name.


Metrics for open source software projects can give you a detailed overview of the project’s activity, such as the number of contributions made, the number of users, the number of developers, the number of downloads, the number of bug reports, and the number of commits. It can also provide insight into the project’s codebase, such as its size, complexity, and maturity. Additionally, metrics can reveal the project’s overall health, such as the rate of user growth and the frequency of new releases.

For us, our metrics show a robust, committed (pun intended), and engaged community that is lifting the entire drone industry higher (another pun intended).

Solid contributor Growth over the past five years

2022 At-A-Glance


Pull Requests


Lines of Code Changed


Commits to Repositories


Unique Contributors


Foundation Members


Code Repositories

Top Contributing Organizations



Top Organization



Top Academic Institute



Individual Contributors

Top 10 Contributors



Daniel Agar



Julian Oes



Beat Kung



Mathieu Bresciani



Silvan Fuhrer



Matthias Grob



Hamish Willee



Jaeyoung Lim



David Sidrane



Thomas Stastny




Data and Sources

All of the metrics in this report are publicly available on LFX Insights, a tool by The Linux Foundation that gathers metrics from all known sources to our community and provides an easy-to-read dashboard with high-level trends of all of our open source repositories hosted on GitHub. For more information and exciting metrics from our community, visit the Dronecode Foundation dashboard on the link below.


We hosted the 2022 PX4 Developer Summit in Austin Texas, and it was a resounding success. It brought together over 300 developers, manufacturers, and users from around the world to share their knowledge and collaborate on open-source drone projects. The event was held in a hybrid format, with both in-person and virtual attendance options available. Participants had the opportunity to attend talks and workshops on a wide range of topics, including updates on the latest developments in PX4 and other Dronecode projects. The summit also provided a valuable opportunity for attendees to network and connect with others in the industry. Overall, the 2022 PX4 Developer Summit was a testament to the power of open-source collaboration in advancing the state of the art in drone technology.

Day 1 concluded with a drone light show of 300 UVify IFOs over the skies of Austin, with attendees and onlookers captivated by the fleet of UAVs aligning into delightful 3D formations like TUX the Linux penguin and a pride-filled “We Love Open Source” message.

Our Projects

PX4 Autopilot

PX4 Autopilot is an open-source flight control software for drones and other unmanned vehicles. The project provides a flexible set of tools for drone developers to share technologies to create tailored solutions for drone applications.

2022 highlights:

Release V1.13:


MAVLink is a lightweight messaging protocol designed for communicating with uncrewed vehicles. It is widely used in the drone industry and is supported by a wide range of ground control stations and autopilots. The protocol is highly flexible, allowing for the transmission of a wide range of data types, from basic telemetry to complex mission commands. MAVLink is designed to be easy to implement and can be used with a variety of telemetry solutions. The protocol is also highly configurable, allowing developers to choose the data types and message formats that best suit their needs. Overall, MAVLink is a powerful and flexible messaging protocol that is widely used in the drone industry and has a vibrant and active community of developers and users.


MAVSDK is a set of open-source libraries and tools that enable developers to create applications for unmanned vehicles. The MAVSDK provides a range of features, including a telemetry feed and command interfaces, camera control, and mission planning tools. The SDK is available for a variety of programming languages, including C++, Python, and Swift. Overall, MAVSDK is a powerful and flexible tool for building custom drone applications, and is a valuable resource for developers working in the unmanned vehicle space.


Pixhawk is not a specific product; it is a set of open standards endorsed by major semiconductor manufacturers, software companies, and drone engineering companies. These de facto standards cover requirements for many aspects of hardware and electronics design in drones. By providing a common framework for drone development, the Pixhawk v6 family of open standards has the potential to streamline the design and implementation of drone systems, while also promoting interoperability and compatibility between different components. The Pixhawk ecosystem has been growing for over a decade and has achieved great success. We estimate more than a million Pixhawk-based devices in the field as of this writing.

In 2022, updated standards were released. The Pixhawk v6 family of hardware standards defines the form factor and electrical interfaces for the Pixhawk autopilot, while the associated FMUv6X and FMUv6C standards provide expanded functionality and capabilities. The open-source software standards, including the PX4 flight stack, allow for customization and optimization of the autopilot’s behavior. These standards are intended to enable the development of interoperable hardware and software components for drone systems with the goal of promoting innovation and advancing the state of the art in drone technology.


QGroundControl is a cross-platform ground control station (GCS) for drone and unmanned vehicle systems. The software provides a user-friendly interface for planning and executing autonomous flights, monitoring vehicle telemetry, and visualizing real-time flight data. It is compatible with various unmanned vehicle systems, including those running the open-source PX4 Autopilot. In addition to basic flight control functionality, QGroundControl offers a suite of advanced features, including geotagging of photos and videos, terrain following, and precision landing. Overall, QGroundControl is a powerful and versatile tool for managing and controlling drone and unmanned vehicle systems and its become a defacto standard for end-users/pilots.

How to Contribute

All of this is possible because of our community of contributors, and we are always looking for more. Look below for links to our channels to engage and contribute.

Additionally, the foundation offers a variety of resources and support to help developers get started with open-source drone projects, including documentation, tutorials, and support forums.

Together, we will build a stronger and more vibrant community of developers, manufacturers, and users and drive innovation in the drone industry.

Open source and open standards are the catalysts for creating a truly interoperable and innovative drone ecosystem. By contributing to the Dronecode Foundation and its open-source projects, you are not only supporting the growth of the industry but also advancing your own business goals. Open standards and open-source software give us the flexibility and agility to create cutting-edge solutions for our customers while promoting interoperability between different drone systems. Our commitment to open source is a key part of our mission to build a more sustainable and accessible drone industry. We are proud to be a part of the Dronecode community.

Lorenz Meier

Auterion Co-Founder, and CEO


Our community’s achievements can be attributed to the developer community’s and member companies’ support. The most impactful way an organization can contribute to our community is by becoming a member. Join us today, and collaborate with other professionals in your industry to contribute to the Dronecode Foundation ecosystem.




  • Airial Robotics
  • CUAV
  • DroneDeploy
  • EPiSci
  • Flytrex
  • FreeFly Systems
  • Holybro
  • Maxwell Innovations
  • ModalAI
  • mRo
  • Smatii
  • Sojourn
  • Sunflower Lab
  • Technology Innovation Institute
  • UVify
  • Watts Innovation
  • Wingtra


The work that happens behind the scenes to nurture and coordinate an open technology community needs the support of the whole ecosystem, and we are thankful to our members for their help in driving our mission.

The idea that interactions are positive-sum is fundamental to the Dronecode Foundation, our PX4 Developer Summit, and open source in general. There isn’t a certain sum of money, brainpower, or development resources allotted to any one project in particular. Equally crucially, a neutral setting for a project and community encourages this style of positive-sum reasoning and promotes the expansion and variety that, in our opinion, are essential components of an effective open-source project.

Sources of Revenue

Our Revenue in 2022 came from three different sources, including Membership, Event sponsorships, and Event Registrations.

Operation Expenses

Contact Information

You can reach the Dronecode Foundation at for any special request and at for information on how to become a member. Find us on social media and any of our official community channels.

Thank You

We appreciate our community support in making 2022 a great success. We look forward to collaborating with all of you in 2023 and meeting new faces at our PX4 Developer Summit this year.

Stay tuned for more news from our humble community.