Source for commercial prosumer Cube/Ardupilot drone

Is there any manufacturer producing a prosumer drone with Cube/Ardupilot open source?

Something in the $1k to $2k range, made in the USA with reasonable support.

Or is most of the equipment using Ardupilot home grown?

Thank you.

I don’t know how up to date this is:
Ardupilot RTF

1 Like

Thanks - the links work - but nothing I was looking for.

Interesting - high end drones where the page says you can inquire about a price. Heavy custom design. Then a company with low end drones that sell on Amazon - but only one currently available.

A lot of time and effort has gone into the Cube - but it seems relatively difficult to get ahold of (yes, you can get a Blue cube for $600 - 7 were available). But the company that has them only has the cube and none of the accessories.

Thanks again for pointing that page out.

I wouldn’t characterize $1-$2k as “pro” anything. That’s fairly entry level, and it’s difficult to even build your own for that price once all the electronics are factored in.

As you’re discovering, supply shortages are pretty gross at the moment. A Cube Orange was $250 a year ago and easy to find. Now Amazon has them listed at nearly $500 if they’re in stock at all. The Cube Blue has always been short in supply and rather expensive. Matek hardware is slightly easier to find at reasonable prices, but even that is proving challenging at times.

I think the unfortunate answer to your question is that there isn’t an RTF option in your price range (especially if you want US made with support - you’re about an order of magnitude short for that). You may consider going the DIY route and budgeting some time to wait for back orders.

Your comments are really helpful. I was guessing at the $1-$2k - just fishing.

I don’t understand the reference to “Matek hardware” - is that another cube source?

I’d like to build a drone - I built a Parallax Elev8 years ago - then upgraded it to a black cube. But it’s a kludge.

Thanks again - please feel free to add anything.

Matek is a Chinese flight controller manufacturer. Their hardware is bare bones by comparison to the Cube series, but it tends to work fairly well in a lot of ArduPilot applications. Prices are hard to beat.

Have a look at these blog posts for some really solid build ideas.

you will not find a prosumer UAS made in the USA for 1-2k with a good support base running arducopter, the drones just are not there yet for that price. If you are looking for good hardware in the USA with great support try Mrobotics I have used them with great success. Their pixracer is a great flight controller.

and the links posted above for builds by @andyp1per are some of the best step-by-step builds anyone has ever made with arducopter.

Yuri_Rage & fuego -

Thanks for your time posting this info. The @anyp1per info looks really interesting - well worth following up and studying.

My priority is open source software. The current status of the drone industry is built on proprietary HW/SW - reminds me of IBM and the computer industry in the 70’s.

I picked up a Mavic 3 - only to discover that there was no “Mission Planner” - because you were dependent on DJI publishing their API - “…when they got around to it.”. Worse, they’ve built in flight restrictions - you have to get permission to fly. I returned it.

Don’t get me wrong - I’ve got my Part 107 - I firmly believe the PIC must follow air space restrictions (and local laws, etc). But I don’t accept that it should be built into the drone software. It’s like programming a car to refuse to start if you’ve exceeded your allowed carbon footprint for the month.

Look at the “supported” drones for the major drone applications.

I’ll get off my soapbox. But I firmly believe there is an incredible future in aviation - based on drone technology.

Thanks again.


1 Like

Yuri_Rage & fuego -

Thanks so much for your original comments.

Because of your insights - I decided to brush off my black cube ELEV8 conversion.

Upgraded the firmware with Mission Planner, carefully went thru the setup instructions and had my first flight today.