Writing for OpenSource.com, Jason Baker of Red Hat notes that one of the best open source drone communities he’s come across is DIY drones – a site that offers forums, videos and succinct how-tos, along with an online store selling kits and components.
“DIY drones, among other things, is the host of the [Atmel-based] Ardupilot project, an Arduino-based system to help you get off the ground with a hardware, software, and firmware solution for flying nearly anything,” Baker explains.
“Versions exist for everything from fixed-wing aircraft to copters with nearly any number of propellors, and even a version for rovers for land-lovers not quite ready to take flight.”
As Baker notes, quadcopters and related vehicles are great if you want to control a flight that can be measured in meters.
“But what if you want to touch the edge of space? Not surprisingly, there’s open hardware for that too. Two of your best options for flying a little bit higher on a consumer budget are balloons and hobbyist rockets,” he says.
“There are plenty of instructions out there for you to try re-creating this feat on your own. Some require advanced hardware skills, but what sensors and what tracking system you include are as much a matter of your own skills and interests as anything else.”
According to Baker, open source model rocketry might be another platform of choice for DIY Makers and hobbyists, as it offers fairly easy entry and re-entry options.
“It’s an exciting time for open source flight. Even the US miliitary has recently made a decision to open source some of the work they are doing, in coordination with the Open Source Software Institute,” Baker adds. “Whether you’re an open hardware pro, or someone like me who is just getting started, there are plenty of options for diving in.”
Interested in learning more? The full text of “Open Source Hardware takes Flight” can be read here on OpenSource.com, while the DIY Drones homepage can be accessed here. Readers may also want to check out our recent article on the PAVA 9, a sleek ATmega328P-based tracker.