I work in a fixed wing drone startup. We’d like to use Pixhawk as the autopilot of our product. But we predict one problem when we apply it.
We spent time on tuning the parameters. We don’t like copiers to be able to easily copy them to their products.
What are the typical ways to encrypt Pixhawk’s parameters?
The drones-discuss developer mailing list would probably be a better place for discussing this topic. However, I wouldn’t see much chances for success for your plans as they contradict the open-source idea behind the project.
why this contradict the open-source idea?
We tune flight parameters (e.g. PID parameters) for our specific drone products. It’s useless to output these parameters unless they want to copy our products.
You are attempting to make profits off of Open Source hardware/firmware that is free to everyone.
Then do not use Open Source flight controllers
@TCIII I disagree, there is nothing wrong with making money from Open Source projects
@StephanG I also disagree that making parameters ‘write only’ would be problem with being Open Source. It’s just a feature.
@Pierre1 You can submit changes to the APM project that would protect parameters, once written to the device they would not be able to be read back. i.e… a ‘write only’ solution. As long as the source code changes are shared with the community as specified under the GPLv3 license, that’s ok.
The problem I see is that I don’t see how special can these parameters are. Anybody tuning another similar or same aircraft, would probably have similar results. And without encryption of some sort, you can easily install you own version of firmware and read them back.
IMHO if the tuning parameters are the key to success of your project against the competition, the solution probably has bigger problem. The USP of products based on Open Source almost always need to based on the service offered compared with competitors. Somebody can’t really copy that, just poorly emulate.
Good luck with your venture
Thanks for your response, billbonney.
Yes. You’re right. Tuning the parameters cost some time but it is nothing difficult, especially for autopilot engineer. There’s nothing more than following Pixhawk parameters tuning guide. It is not our key advantage. Experienced Pixhawk parameters tuning hobbyists can tune parameters for our aircraft better than us.
We are located in China. Our products will be sold to China as well. So just need to add simple technical blocks so that 95% of the potential workshop copiers, who do not read English, located in small villages will give up the idea of copying our drones products without attempting to dig into it more than slightly by themselves.
Sorry that I can use Pixhawk to fly my planes. But I don’t know a lot about the codes/software structures inside it. So I have the further questions as below.
What do you mean by ‘submit changes to APM’? Do I need to change the source code of it?
What do you mean by ‘own version of firmware’? How could I have it? Modify on it?