PX4 from Pixhawk is an open source flight control software for drones and other unmanned vehicles. The project is designed to provide a flexible set of tools for drone developers to share technologies to create tailored solutions for drone applications.
PX4 provides a standard to deliver drone hardware support and software stack, allowing an ecosystem to build and maintain hardware and software in a scalable way, according to the manufacturer. Historically, PX4 grew from the PIXHAWK project at ETH Zurich; the PIXHAWK MAV was specifically designed to be a research platform for computer vision based flight control. The project now counts more than 300 global contributors and is used by some of the world’s most-innovative companies, across a wide range of drone industry applications.
The open source community around the Pixhawk open autopilot hardware and the PX4 flight stack is described as the largest industry-backed development community in the drone space today. PX4 is part of Dronecode, a non-profit organization administered by Linux Foundation to foster the use of open source software on flying vehicles. Dronecode also hosts QGroundControl, MAVLink & the SDK.
Built for Autonomy
PX4 is designed with a hybrid system architecture as motivation to deeply couple with embedded computer vision capabilities. Developers working on highly complex autonomous systems leverage the foundation to focus on creating robust localization algorithms.
Pixhawk 4, meanwhile, is an advanced autopilot designed and made in collaboration with Holybro® and the PX4 team. It is optimized to run PX4 version 1.7, suitable for academic and commercial developers.