Arduino vs Pixhawk

I’m looking into building a rover, eventually use the same same system in a boat. I’ve done a lot of research and as far as I can see the Pixhawk is the “new and improved” Ardupilot. I’ve also seen some systems based around the Arduino Mega. I’ve done a couple of small projects with the Arduino UNO.

As far as I see the Pixhawk is a complete packaged system, (a very good system) where as the Arduino has to be designed and built. Basically buying a car from a dealer or building my own. Both will get me where I’m going but building your own has a bit more satisfaction.

I understand that this is a Pixhawk forum but are there any advantages/disadvantages to using the Pixhawk vs a Arduino system? Is the Pixhawk overkill for a rover?


I only use the pixhawk (and linux version) so I know only a little about the apm (arduino) card. Normally the old apm is discontinue so even if it is cheaper, you won’t find plenty of people to help you. And more importantly you won’t get any update as the minimum hardware now is the pixhawk.

I know that the APM is discontinued and that the Pixhawk is the way to go. Like I said, I realize most people on this forum are mainly familiar with the Pixhawk and the APM units but I’ve also seen autonomous control with just an Arduino and was curious as to what people think of one or the other.

I’m close to buying what I need just looking into my options.

Thanks for getting back to me

It’s more about sensor integration.

APM/Pixhawk/Navio/etc are sensor integration packages around the processors.

I still have APM’s in the field working well and I am not chasing bugs in ‘new’ version releases.
On the other hand, Pixhawk has the new bells and whistles that are essential for high end accuracy such as RTK GNSS and other high end sensor integration.

Linux based systems seems to be the way of the future for development, so maybe that area would be better to look at.
A big step up from the Arduino board though.

Totally different ends of the spectrum. The Pixhawk also handles flight stabilization, not a big issue with Rovers.

The Pixhawk seems, to me any ways, to be basically a plug and play. I can add a new sensor, as you mention, then just configure it in the mission control, is that right? Is there any other programming you have to do?

Can you modify the program, not that I would think you would need to, but if you wanted to modify some part of it, can you?

Thanks for your reply

Using Mission Planner (APM Planner, QGroundcontrol, and others) allows you to completely configure additional sensors and functions in the existing Ardupilot code in a very friendly environment, no programming required.

If, on the other hand, you want to add sensors and functions not covered by the existing Ardupilot code, you can download the code and modify it to suite.
The power of open source.

Thank you. But I got a few questions. How can I download the code if I want to modify it? And which software do I need to use for programming? Is it the same one as Arduino?

All the source code is in GitHub. The best place to start is here: