Congratulations to Peter Barker for winning the "Best Contribution of the Month" for Dec 2016 for his Package Place Feature (video here).
This new mission command (which will be released with AC3.5) allows a vehicle to deliver a package autonomously without the vehicle actually touching down. It accomplishes this by carefully monitoring the motor level until it detects the package touching down. It then opens the gripper to release the cargo. This is very handy especially for delivering packages on surfaces (i.e. mountain sides or the sea!) where the vehicle cannot safely land.
Video of Peter's first test of the feature: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDzkp2Kfdt4
Vide of follow-up test by EnRoute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4GK4ALqluc
The prize this month is $200 plus a Lightware SF11C laser range finder kindly donated by Lightware!
By the way, there will be a new "Best Contribution of the Month" each month of 2017. Contributions can be bug fixes, new features, improvements to the wiki or anything else that helps the ArduPilot project. The way it works is we "label" Pull Requests with the "Top Contribution" label and then on the first development call of the month we collect up the entries and then there's a follow-up vote. If people want to nominate entries for next month, feel free to comment below some time in January.
Thanks to those who donated to ArduPilot including our Corporate Partners. If you are a company and wish to donate a prize for an upcoming month, please email the partners email list (email@example.com).
Thanks and congrats to Peter!