Servers by jDrones

SkyRocket and ArduPilot

(rmackay9) #1

We are happy to announce that SkyRocket will soon be releasing a new ArduPilot based low cost (about $150), low weight (about 145g) drone called the SkyViper GPS Streaming drone . There is a version with FPV headset as well. Note that the SkyRocket drones flying with ArduPilot have a white body.

We expect this new drone will be on sale from early October through Amazon, ToysRUs and Target in the US, Canada, Chile, France, German, Holland, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand, Serbia, UK (with more countries being added to the list later).

Tridge and Matt (from SkyRocket) discussed this new drone on sUAS News earlier this week:

And it appears Gary then had some fun with Throw mode soon afterwards:

We’ve created a special wiki page that we will fill out with more details but until then here are some details:


  • the flight controller is a custom STM32 board designed by Philip Rowse (designer of the Pixhawk2). With a bit of hacking, you can get access to:
  • 5x serial ports
  • 1x I2C
  • 1x SPI
  • IMU is ICM20789 which includes 3-axis accelerometer, gyro and even a barometer!
  • Ublox M8 GPS
  • the battery is a single 1S (i.e. 4.2V max) and it can fly for about 11min in our tests. Replacement batteries are readily available on Amazon and other places (same as other SkyRocket drones).
  • brushed motors
  • top speed of between 8m/s ~ 10m/s
  • the camera can be manually adjusted to point forward, down or anywhere in between but it’s not a servo or brushless gimbal.


  • the ArduPilot (Copter) flight code is close to Copter-3.5 but has additional features that will be coming back into master in the near future (notch filter, etc). It can do all the things that you expect ArduPilot can do (all the flight modes and autonomous mission commands, etc) and of course you’re free to customise or upgrade the firmware on the drone as you wish.
  • wifi telemetry and video streaming.
  • the live video can be viewed through a SkyRocket app that you can run on your tablet and Mission Planner support for video is coming soon.
  • APWeb (a tiny open source web server) also runs on the drone which allows easy modification of parameters, uploading firmware to the drone and transmitter, calibration, downloading log files, pictures.
  • the transmitter has a relatively low powered STM8 processor running open source software written by Tridge (incorporates some code from Papparazi). more details to follow.

The dev team is very excited about the release of this new drone. It will likely introduce ArduPilot to a lot of new users and we also expect that many developers will use it as a low-cost development test platform. The potential to use these for swarming is also very exciting.

Congratulations to Tridge, Peter, Leonard, Rob and Philip who put in a lot of effort to get this tiny drone flying well.

Special thanks to Matt Morton and the rest of the team at SkyRocket for choosing ArduPilot!

Using the SkyViper Sonix board with any Pixhawk
(tridge) #2

Thanks Randy! It has been a lot of fun working on this little copter.

(proficnc) #3

Its an incredible collaboration between the open source community and Skyrocket!

Awesome job all!

1 Like
(Perth UAV - Sam) #4

Brilliant stuff! :smiley:

I’m glad to see this move to bring Ardupilot to the masses, with small affordable and capable hardware!
This should go into the educational curriculum, and adding a spot to connect a pi zero would be perfect.

Hopefully they will be available in Australia soon as well? I can’t wait to get some for the kids. :wink:

(Hugues) #5

Nice. So is this a commercial drone project that was developped by Ardupilot devs like Tridge and so on ? What’s the link with the skyrocket commercial company ?

(Coby Leuschke) #6

Congrats!!! Very cool to see ardupilot in a system like this.

(Olivier Brousse) #7


Commercial drone from SkyRocket, running ArduCopter, and made possible in part by Ardupilot developers who worked under contract with them.

This is typical of Open Source projects, where main devs are under contract in part or whole by companies sponsoring the project. Linux’s top developers, for instance, are all sponsored by commercial companies.

Advantages of this scenario are multiple, for all parties: The sponsoring company benefits from access to free base software yet can have it customized or improved with new features they want (in this case a plethora, including a newly developed hardware board). Developers can make a living at, well, developing. And the greater user community benefits from all improvements.

And in this case the opportunity to buy and fly a swarm capable number of Ardupilot running drones, at a previously unheard of price.

Well done, SkyRocket and all!

(Rick) #8

Wow, SkyRocket and Ardupilot succeed where Lili drones failed in Throw mode…I love it.

1 Like
(Robert Mapes) #9

Imagineering at its best. Expanding the art of the possible by continuously enabling affordable, non proprietary, and extendable technology. Good work Ardupilot

1 Like
(Andrea Belloni) #10

I would like to know if Flight Controller and WiFi Telemetry / Video streaming will be released as open hardware.

(rmackay9) #11


The software is all open (flight control, web server, video, transmitter) but I don’t think the hardware is open. I’m not really responsible for the hardware of course but I plan to publish info on the ardupilot wiki about how people can hack the hardware to get access to the UART, SPI and I2C ports.

(Andrea Belloni) #12

Thanks Randy,
more then on the flight controller (there are many OS project) I am interested on the wifi video streaming, I know how to do this with companion computer like RPi and cam via gstreamer, but this is a solution viable only for medium to big quad. I like to implement this in a little DIY quad and I am curious on how this is implemented in the skyrocket, it would be great if in the wiki will be posted a block diagram of the HW with the name of chipset / SOC.

(Hugues) #13

thx for explaining. It seems a nice win-win model.

(tridge) #14

@anbello it uses a video board from Sonix, who also make dashcam style boards. The chipset is an OV9732 from OmniVision. The Sonix is an ARM running FreeRTOS (the board can also run Linux, but video performance is better with FreeRTOS).
It has built-in WiFi, a UART to talk to the STM32, another debug UART and I2C to talk to the OV9732. It has a microSD slot for photos/video storage, and for ArduPilot logs.
I hope this helps!
Cheers, Tridge

1 Like
(Andrea Belloni) #15

Thanks a lot Tridge
Ciao, Andrea

(mike kelly) #16

Tridge if you have any influence with Sky Rocket… This should be a really hot seller, breakthrough product but I think they have a real significant problem. There are at least 4 threads started on RCGroups for this product and there is no activity on the threads at all. I think the problem is that it is very difficult to understand the difference in the product and other offerings that look the same on the cosmetics with none of the capabilities and the fact that Sky Rocket themselves have done nothing to differentiate if from their previous offerings. Even to the point of calling it the V2450GPS when they previously offered the V2400HD with none of the capabilities of the new product. I suggested they call it the Viperhawk to relate it to Pixhawk.

I would hate to see it fail simply because no one was aware it existed. Having 200,000 more Ardupilot users is a big benefit to all.

(Dongho Kang) #17

So this is possible to connect the linux laptop using map proxy? And we can give the mavlink command?

(tridge) #18

yes, it outputs MAVLink over UDP, so you can use any MAVLink GCS. I use mavproxy with it a lot during development

(Kurt shaw) #19

I was just at a Toys or us. Decided to ask them about it. The store employee had no idea what I was talking about. So he looked it up. He said It may be a long time before his store has them because online sales have pre-orders for over 3k of them sold

(brad112358) #20

The funny thing is that I’ve been checking the ToysRus Web site and refreshing the page it appears on every couple of days and I’ve never seen it offered for pre-sale. It just says “coming soon”. Tridge or others, do your contacts have any update on when it will be available?