Development Fund

ArduPilot collects funds through donations from individuals and Partners and are held within SPI. Some of these funds go to pay for fixed costs including servers (i.e. build servers, wiki servers, etc) and are billed directly to ArduPilot’s account within SPI.

This page attempts to outline how any remaining funds are managed.

Submitting Proposals

Anyone may submit a proposal to receive funding by opening a new topic within the Discuss Forum’s Proposal category. Suggestions for what the proposal should include are described here and also copied below:

Proposals should be no more than 2 pages and include:

  • description of the project and how it would improve ArduPilot
  • how much money is needed
  • what resources are needed (hardware, software, time)
  • what core developer support is required (if any)
  • timespan for the completion of the project (and milestones if longer than 3 months)
  • what skills the developer has to complete the task (i.e. past experience contributing to ArduPilot)

All proposal submissions are considered public information, and may be disclosed to whatever audience is relevant at the time, such as developer or partner meetings and group calls, and may be published on the website or forums.

Evaluating Proposals

The ArduPilot funding committee is made up of three elected members from the team. Elections are held each year in November.

This committee reviews the Proposal category regularly and evaluates proposals based on both the benefit to ArduPilot and likelihood of success. The approve/reject decision is made by a simple majority vote (i.e. 2 of 3 must approve).

The committee has authority to decide on its own for funding requests up to $2000. Above this, if the funding committee approves of the request, a member of the funding committee should raise a vote for the wider dev team to decide on the proposal.

Additional guidance:

  • requests for small amounts of funding (eg. $200 to buy a new sensor) generally have a very low threshold for funding. Larger requests receive more scrutiny.
  • for larger requests (i.e. over $2000) the committee may ask the applicant to undertake a smaller sub-task first to demonstrate their ability to take on the larger task.
  • specific proposals are favored over less specific ones. For example, a proposal to “improve ArduPilot” would be less likely to be funded compared with a proposal to “add support for the XYZ gyroscope”.
  • we should keep red-tape to a minimum. There is no point in there being 10 hours of admin for a $200 request. Small proposals should be encouraged which are just a few paragraphs, and the person should get their money quickly and with a minimum of fuss.
  • all proposals should receive and accepted or rejected response within a reasonable amount of time.

Making Payments

Payments are made via PayPal by ArduPilot’s SPI liason (the ArduPilot team member who has been elected to be the main point of contact with SPI).