The Linux Foundation announced Tuesday that it is starting an open-source drone project that aims to create better and more affordable unmanned aerial vehicles.
The project, called Dronecode, features projects like the APM/ArduPilot autopilot software and PX4 drone hardware, and it is expected to encourage people to use the technology for a variety of purposes, according to CNET. These purposes include humanitarian work, search and rescue, and environmental research.
Several drone companies have been announced as partners for the project, such as 3D Robotics, jDrones, DroneDeploy, Squadrone System, SkyWard, Walkera, and Yuneec. The Linux Foundation will also work with chipmakers Qualcomm and Intel.
The non-profit organization said there are already 1,200 developers doing work for Dronecode, which has over 150 code commits a day on some of its projects, PC Magazine reported.
"Open source software and collaborative development are advancing technologies in the hottest, most cutting-edge areas. The Dronecode Project is a perfect example of this," said Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation. "By becoming a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project, the Dronecode community will receive the support required for a massive project right at its moment of breakthrough. The result will be even greater innovation and a common platform for drone and robotics open source projects."
Chris Anderson, chief executive of 3D Robotics, said APM/ArduPilot and PX4 have allowed people to use drones for different commercial purposes, such as scanning buildings to make 3D models and film video for Hollywood films, CNET reported. He added that project serves as an "example of the power of democratizing a technology."
"We are entering the customer and commercial drone age and I'm delighted that an open source platform is helping lead the way," Anderson said. "Now that we have reached this level of adoption and maturity, it's time to adopt the best practices of other highly successful open-source projects, including professional management and government structures, to ensure the continued growth and independence of these efforts."
Dronecode's Technical Steering Committee (TSC) will be led by Andrew "Tridge" Tridgell, who has done work on APM/ArduPilot in the past, PC Magazine reported.
The announcement of the project comes as tech giants like Facebook and Google are looking to get involved in new, innovative drone technology.