Auterion Enterprise PX4 benefits the enterprise and, as a result, the end users. What does that mean? That’s what we will unpack in this post. We’ll explain how Enterprise PX4 differs from PX4, its benefits, and why we’ve created it in the first place.
What’s the difference between PX4 and Enterprise PX4?
PX4 is an open source flight control software for drones and other unmanned vehicles. The project provides a flexible set of tools that allow drone developers to share technologies to create tailored drone application solutions. PX4 is hosted by Dronecode, a Linux Foundation non-profit and Auterion Enterprise PX4 is a product by Auterion. Auterion provides a commercial software distribution of the PX4 kernel.
PX4 is what we call “upstream,” meaning it’s the original source open source project. It’s comparable to Linux being the upstream open source project of Red Hat or Ubuntu offerings. Whether you’re a Linux user or not, you might have heard of Red Hat or Ubuntu because that’s what people install, the end product, but it’s all built around the Linux Kernel.
That’s also what Auterion does as a company. We build Auterion Enterprise PX4 around the PX4 kernel, which is the technology that makes autonomous systems navigate in their space, whether it be drones flying, rovers driving, or nautical systems diving.
Who Benefits from Enterprise PX4?
From an end user perspective, what’s important is that open source is fantastic technology driven by global developer and user innovation. For this reason, it’s in the interest of this developer community to create the best technology and not necessarily create a great product. Typically what happens—and as open source developers we have to be frank about that—is that open source software can be hard to install and use. Open source is still great technology, but it needs help to be taken from technology to product and from developer to enterprise. That’s where Auterion comes in for PX4.
“Enterprise PX4 is like Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux but for drones.”
In the same way that Enterprise Linux is a thing, Enterprise PX4 is flight control software and drone management software (the full stack) for the enterprise; it’s not for developers. Enterprise PX4 is for real operators that have jobs like running surveys and inspections or fighting fires and have public safety duties. The software needs to be easy to install, use, and upgrade.
A police officer shouldn’t have to go on GitHub to download source code, compile it on their computer, flash it to a drone, and then run all sorts of flight tests to verify that they haven’t run into regression. And that’s what open source life would look like for any police officer. So you need somebody in between, like Auterion, who takes that great technology, runs it through a proper product quality assurance (QA) process, maybe rounds off a few rough edges, and makes it available to a police officer or surveyor running inspections or mapping.
It’s all in the name: Enterprise PX4 is for enterprise end users. It lets them focus on their goals without having to maintain a complex development environment.
Watch the live chat on the topic between Romeo Durscher and Lorenz Meier.