Learn how to code your drone with python and open source software!

Prepare for Tomorrow’s Powerhouse Industry, Today!

We all know the drone industry is advancing with rapid pace, but where are the drone programmers to build our airborne tomorrow? College has dropped the ball for offering comprehensive and dedicated drone educations, so it’s time to bootstrap your own drone learning!

This comprehensive crash course goes into every bit of software that is needed to make drones fly, from the low level firmware to high level applications in python. Once we have knowledge of the software infrastructure of any drone, we start to get our hands dirty and start programming drones with python scripts.

Open source software is changing the world, and the drone industry is not immune from this trend either. All of the software used in this course is free and open source. From ArduPilot (the firmware) to Dronekit (python applications), you’ll learn about the hot open source projects that are propelling (pun definitely intended) the drone industry to new heights.

So this sounds all cool, but what if I don’t have a drone?

Great news, you don’t need a drone to take this course! This is because we will be using a simulated drone right on your computer to test our code with (Thanks ArduPilot!!). The simulated drone responds to the code just as a real drone would, so you get to debug your code in simulation land, instead of in your backyard where your drone tries to decapitate you in real land.

So who is this course for??

To be successful in this course, you do not need any previous drone knowledge. All the basic drone knowledge you’ll need to know is covered in the course.

The only prerequisite skills you will need is basic linux command line and python knowledge, so a basic coding background is the perfect fit. Coders will be surprised how the skills they already possess overlap with drone programming.

The course is NOT structured for non-technical (aka non-nerdy) people. Therefore, if terms like ‘linux command line’ or ‘python’ or ‘virtual machines’ scare you, this course is not for you, yet. Go take the prereqs (learn linux commands here and basic python here), and come back properly equipped to become a drone programmer!

What you’ll learn

  • What autopilot firmware actually is and what it performs, specifically with ArduPilot
  • What all ArduPilot has to offer, like different flight modes and SITL (simulated drone)
  • How to test drone code on a simulated drone right from your computer
  • How to communicate with drones programmatically and remotely by using ground control stations.
  • Command line based (MAVProxy) and user interface based (QGroundControl) ground control stations.
  • What middleware is and how it is used as a programming agnostic dialect. We will be using open source MAVLink
  • How to to use python to script drone missions using the open source dronekit
  • Understand how the various software projects fit together to form a coherent system, called a flight stack
  • General knowledge of the different elemental pieces of the flight stack



Course Curriculum

Introduction: Drone Basics and Flight Stack Software Overview
Dev Workstation and Dependency Setup
Ardupilot and SITL introduction

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