Thank you for summarizing the benefits of the Compute Module and development issues David and Jeff.
In regards to the development process I agree with James in that an initial run for assessment would be preferred. The CM3 carrier was originally intended as a project to address some specific needs, and to simplify integration for a few of the developers that had already agreed to share the costs. As such Gumstix offered the boards at a discount, and at the least cost per unit for those involved, via a rebate obtained by one of the developers. Although the process is restrictive to go with Gumstix it still offers the best value for money for the initial batch, and requires the minimum amount of engineering and time, as this is included in the Gumstix offer. The cost for follow on batches are also very competitive as per my last post.
I also note from a design/engineering perspective that there is a reduced risk for a budget blowout to get a functional Gumstix CM3 board as that is included in their own in house engineering process. Although this is their own IP, it only consists of some PCB layout, connectors, routing and a power module that I think is not really of high value to add to the Ardupilot open source IP at this early stage.
Accordingly, I would like to propose that the first batch uses Gumstix, and pending the uptake of the product from users and developers, we would develop the improved second revision of the board open source and source a suitable supply chain for manufacturing and distribution. If the boards don’t turn out to be popular we can carry on with Gumstix in 50units batches and do revisions for an extra $499 as required. My understanding is that the budget for producing the initial batch of boards is actually less than the funding sort, but if required the initial number of first boards could also be increased to match the interest of developers and users. I’d be happy to pay for my own costs plus a board for another developer to help move it along and get the board into as many developers hands as possible.
We’re hoping to have the design documents completed by the end of next week once we receive the required feedback from Gumstix about some customization options. Once that is thoroughly reviewed, an order can be placed at which point Gumstix will start their design process, and we will have the opportunity to assess and aprove their final design before production.