Is Ardupilot still available?

I’m a bit confused as to whether the Ardupilot is still available. A couple of years ago I was starting with Arduino controllers, I got a book that built an autonomous boat and they used an Ardupliot. I looked into it and it appeared that the Ardupilot was being phased out and the Pixhawk was the new and improved version.

I just got another book, just released this month, about building a drone, I actually will be building both a rover and a boat but thought this book would give me good controller info. In it the author, different than other book, also uses the Ardupilot. Yet when I go on to the list of suppliers from the site none of them have the Ardupilot.

Am I missing something? (Wouldn’t be the first time) or is the author of this new book behind the times?


Ardupilot is practically a firmware that runs on a lot of different boards (hardware). Ardupilot will still run on some of the old arduino-style boards, but the newest ardupilot releases need the performance of newer boards like the pixhawk, pixhawk 2.1, etc.

Ardupilot is definitely still available, and it’s continuously being developed every day. The older boards, however, may not be supported or manufactured anymore. I hope this clarifies what you were missing.

I see references to Ardupilot and Arduinos, even in this new book I got he goes back and forth. Can Ardupilot run on an Arduino, like a mega? Or is it firmware for certain hardware?

Thanks for the quick response to by the way.

This might help a little:
Basically we haven’t supported the arduino based boards for a few years, but old firmware will run on them.

I’m interested in making a autonomous sailboat, will start with a rover as basically the same controls but easier to go get if something goes wrong. Ultimately I’d like to enter the Sailbot competition. Basically they give you the corner waypoints of an area and boat has to sail back and forth for awhile without going outside of those boundaries. Would the Ardupilot do that or just go to a course of waypoints you set in?

thanks so much. always get great info from the forums


Sailboat’s aren’t yet specifically supported, although it has been discussed by @rmackay9 . Powered boats are though.

Thanks, I’ll check him out

Some of the nomenclature is confusing.

First the overall project is now called Ardupilot.

The Ardupilot project builds software (firmware) for flight controllers with specific versions for planes, multirotors, helicopters, rovers, boats and submarines.

The hardware that a version of Ardupilot runs on are made by various companies with also confusing overlapping names.

An early piece of hardware was called the APM, which I think you are referring to in your post above by “ardupilot”. It is still available but the last version of the software to be able to install on it is, for instance, 3.2.1 for multicopters. Newer firmwares require more memory space and faster processing power that the newer Pixhawk hardware provides.

The APM hardware with the last version of firmware that runs on it is still a viable option for many people. If you need some of the advanced features now available in the latest versions of firmware or the future features soon to be available then starting with a newer flight controller like a Pixhawk is a better choice.

Unfortunately, as with most tech, books are going to be behind the times. This field moves very fast.



Yes, I’ve been thinking of adding support for a sailboats but I simply haven’t gotten the time.

If you’re up for some C++ programming I can guide you though it.

I see references to Ardupilot and Arduinos, even in this new book I got he
goes back and forth. Can Ardupilot run on an Arduino, like a mega? Or is it

Only very old, unsupported released. A lot of us are a little vexed than
online retailers continue to sell these antiquated boards without
mentioning the lack of modern software support.

firmware for certain hardware?

Ardupilot now runs on many boards. Many of these ports are in the
"alpha" stage of support, but should be out in the next couple of months.

This page is going to get out-of-date in a massive way in a month or two:

Which one you get depends on what your needs are. If you’re putting it on
a $3,000 vehicle, get a quality autopilot like the Cube. If you’re
putting this on a $80 foamie - don’t :slight_smile:

I’ve created an issue here for adding support for sailboats. I’ve recently started an experiment where I add a ton of detail to each issue to describe how it should be done in the hopes that other developers (even new ones) will take on the issue.

ArduPilot aims to support all types of vehicles so supporting sailboats is just the kind of thing we like to do.

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I can see that there is some, I’m not sure how much, programming is involved for the end user. Does the mission planner do most of the work and you just download that into the board? Or, going the other extreme, do you build a C++ type of program, like for an Arduino, load that into the board and then the mission planner is your interface to that program?

rmackay9, I read the info you have on your link above and you have most of it right. First off I am a member of a radio control model yacht club, our boats average about a meter long, strictly sail control no motors. I’ve developed some Arduino controls that I can use in both a rover and a boat. The sails are controlled by either a drum winch or a arm on a servo that the main and jib lines are connected to. The problem with a wind sensor is from the boats point of view it would be the apparent wind which is the combination of the speed/direction of the boat and the speed/direction of the wind.

I’ve done some C++ programming, mainly for the Arduino, I’ve been trying to learn more so that I can do more with it. I would be interested to work with you to see what we could come up with.

That’s for all the great feedback

No programming is involved for the end user (in the C++ sense).

You can “program” your vehicle to do things using Mission Planner by
dragging and dropping waypoints, that sort of thing. Communication is
usually done with a telemetry link for setting these missions up.

So, basically, if we had complete support for sailboats you would flash
your PixHawk once then use MP (or other GCS software) to manipulate the
autopilot after that.

Well wouldn’t that be cool. I do enjoy the programming but something like that would beyond what I can do. Although I am building on what I have. I’ve made a Arduino Wi-Fi controlled rover with GPS data logging. The next step is to be able to set a course.
But right now the software and hardware, a Pixhawk I assume, is available for me to use in a rover with mission planner, so that would be fun to start playing with.

As mention I’m working on boats and rovers. I checked out the Pixhawk but that seems to be more than I would need, don’t need auto hover function. Is there a board more suited for rovers and boats?

Thanks again

Would be neat to see it built onto these little integrated boards.

What are the required minimum specs for ardupilot to fit these days?

If you’re comfortable using “master”, ie not a stable release, there are a bunch of F405 boards that are newly supported via the ChibiOS and/or F4Light HAL’s.