GSOC 2017 Prospective Student Guidelines

New to GSOC, Ardupilot, or both? Please read for general information.

On February 27th was selected as a participating 2017 Google Summer of Code organization

About the Google Summer of Code program

Sponsored by Google, The Google Summer of Code program (or GSOC as commonly abbreviated) is a program matching open source organizations and students interested in participating in open source development.

Spend your summer break writing code and learning about open source development while earning money! Accepted students work will work with an Ardupilot mentor, and become a part of our large and growing open source community. Many past GSOC students have become lifetime open source developers!

Google Summer of Code is open to post-secondary students, age 18 and older in most countries.

Students interested in participating: How to

First we strongly encourage you to thoroughly read the GSOC’s student manual, to become familiar with all details of the program. Note that the student manual also includes general information and tips related to open source “culture”, links to additional resources, and examples of typical proposals.

Next you should start to become familiar with Ardupilot as a developer, if you are not already. Read through the developer section of the wiki, browse through “Learning the code base”, and take a look at the code repository hosted on github.

Read through the suggested list of proposed GSOC projects. Note that these projects are only suggested, and we are all ears should you have your own ideas for a project.

Then engage with the Ardupilot community. There are several ways you can do this:

  • Through our chat GSOC gitter channel
  • Through our Google Group mailing list. (You will need to first request membership there; Shortly thereafter you will be able to send mail or post.)
  • Through our discussion forum: As with the mailing list you can start a topic introducing yourself, your background and ideas to participate for further discussion.

Also feel free to join our mumble server to discuss projects, once you have a good idea of what you would like to work on.

Important dates for to remember

  • February 27th to March 20th: This is when potential student participants (you!) discuss application ideas with Ardupilot community members.

  • March 20th to April 3rd: This is the time when you will submit your formal application. More information about the application process will be made available soon.

  • May 4th: Accepted student proposals will be announced on this date.

The general GSOC timeline through the summer is available here.

Student requirements

As an Ardupilot contributing developer, you will be required to be familiar working with Git and Github (Creating a repository, submitting pull requests, etc …)

Depending on your project:, knowledge of C++, or Python, or both, and familiarity with cross compiling will be a must. If your project involves web development, knowledge of Javascript and a web development framework will be required. And again depending on your project, familiarity with embedded programming will be needed.

As a minimum, (and this would be a great way to get started if you are not familiar with Ardupilot code development), you should be able to build Ardupilot SITL on your local machine, and successfully execute a few missions in the simulator, with a vehicle of your choice.

About Ardupilot

You’ve heard about autonomous drones, be they multirotors or fixed wing aircrafts. Maybe you already own or have built one. Or perhaps you’ve been interested by the capabilities of small autonomous rovers, or boats, or submarines, vehicles that can be programmed to navigate automatically. At the core of each of these vehicles lies an autopilot, consisting of both hardware and software enabling their operation. For a very large number of these robots, whether used in professional environments or for hobby purposes, Ardupilot has been the premier autopilot software of choice.

In short, Ardupilot is the most advanced, full-featured and reliable open source autopilot software available. It has been developed over 8+ years by a team of diverse professional engineers and computer scientists. It is the only autopilot software capable of controlling any vehicle system imaginable, from conventional airplanes, multirotors, and helicopters, to boats, rovers, submarines. And it has been expanded to feature support for new emerging vehicle types such as vertical take off and landing (VTOL) quad-planes, tilt-rotors, tilt wings and compound helicopters.

The open-source code base means that it is rapidly evolving, and always at the cutting edge of technology development. With many peripheral suppliers creating interfaces, users benefit from a broad ecosystem of sensors, companion computers and communication systems. Finally, since the source code is open, it can be audited to ensure compliance with security and secrecy requirements.

Ardupilot software can be installed and operated on many different hardware systems. Originally developed for 8-bit microcontrollers, it has evolved to now be optimized for use with 32-bit ARM microcontrollers (Pixhawk, Pixhawk2, PixRacer) and can also now run under Linux (Navio2, PXFmini, Qualcomm SnapDragon, Intel Aero …), opening up whole new classes of electronics like Single Board Computers, all the way up to a full PC system.


Hej and congrats on gsoc!

I’m heading a drone project for a sea rescue non profit which currently uses arduplane. We have some ideas for developments that would make the search and rescue use case more efficient. If someone wants to help tackle that we would be very grateful!

@fredrikfalkman, welcome!
GSoC projects around S&R applications are certainly very welcome. Would you like to put a description together to add to ?

Also, even if we don’t get a GSoC student, I am enthusiastic about ArduPilot being used for S&R tasks, so maybe I can help you directly? Have you opened issues on our github for us to look at?
Cheers, Tridge


Thanks! I just submitted a Pull Request for the gsoc-ideas-list where I added a cloud based GCS as a suggestion.

Happy to note your enthusiasm! I’ll take your advice to open an issue.

Are you ever in Europe or the US? Would be nice to meet!


Fredrik Falkman

Swedish Sea Rescue Society
Talattagatan 24; 426 76 Västra Frölunda

Twitter @fredrikfalkman
Skype fredrikfalkman
Cell +46-705-280058