Auterion leads contributions to PX4, the largest open source commercial drone ecosystem

2019 has been a great year for the PX4 ecosystem. Since the founding of PX4 in 2011 by our co-founder Lorenz Meier, the software stack has continually evolved and is now the most widely used open-source flight control system for drones with a permissive software license. The community grew to over 600 contributors and over 9,600 users and added a staggering 1.5 million lines of code in 2019.

Auterion, with over 51% of contributions is leading the charge in the progress of PX4. Most of our contributions resulted from an ongoing deep collaboration with the community and users of the software. As we work and engage with our customers that have products in the market we understand how the technology is used and how it performs in the field. This allows us to develop software that is tested and future proof.

Since more than half the improvements of 2019 came from us, we know the code by heart. Our customers benefit from the deep knowledge of our experienced team (many Auterion engineers are among the top contributors and key maintainers of the open source projects). Our team addressed improvements on all levels, from small issues up to large architectural questions, all to the benefit of the community and to our customers.

Our goals for 2020 are to further grow and support the ecosystem. We foster adoption and discussion so that the industry can align around common open standards as communication protocols, payload, component, and services integrations.

2019 contributions statistics

The community made a total of 7,180 contributions and added a staggering 1.5 million lines of code. Comparing the participation rankings from 2019 to 2018, we made the following observations:

  • Auterion made over 50% of the 7,180 contributions, compared to 33% in 2018 when it ranked as the single largest contributing entity.
  • Auterion is the only contributor to all projects within the ecosystem, demonstrating dedication and competence across the entire software stack, as contributions are evaluated based on meritocracy and only the best code is accepted.
  • Unaffiliated developers, as a group, were the top contributors in 2018 and remain as one of the most important and influential contributors in 2019.  Top individual contributors include Daniel Agar, Don Gagne, and David Sidrane contributing significantly to PX4 firmware and QGroundControl.
  • After Auterion, 3DR, Arrival, Aeronavics, Wingtra, Copter, EPFL,  are part of the top 10 contributing entities, while Yuneec Research, Intel, and ETH Zurich fell off the list in 2019.
  • The majority of contributions are made to the PX4 firmware, followed by QGC, MAVSDK, documentation, and MAVLink.
  • The growing contributions to MAVSDK compared to the previous year point to the maturation of the industry as companies increasingly focus on integrating new applications into their unmanned systems.
  • Globally top-ranking Universities like EPFL Lausanne, MIT, ETH Zurich, and Carnegie Mellon are the largest academic contributors to the PX4 ecosystem, ensuring that the latest research makes its way to real-world applications.
  • The community has made a continued high level of corporate and community contributions and overall growth point to even higher commercial adoption of PX4 in 2020 over 2019.
  • The increasing number of Github developers using PX4 demonstrates its growing organic adoption.
  • A strong involvement of academic institutions ensures continued innovation in the ecosystem.
  • The growing number of contributions to projects such as Simulators and MAVSDK indicate an increased investment in mature products that will likely be introduced in to the market in 2020.

Note:

The data source to compile the contributions statistics is the PX4 Github domain (https://github.com/PX4). Contributors were mapped to the respective companies based on their email address. Developers with a non-company email address were added to the “unaffiliated” pool.

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