Funding Committee

ArduPilot collects funds through donations from individuals and Partners and these are held within SPI and the ArduPilot Foundation. 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. Other project expenses and support engineer compensation is paid from the ArduPilot Foundation account.

The rules governing the Fundinng committee are setforth here: Funding Committee Rules.

Each month SPI publishes an in-month and year-to-date financial report on the Treasurer page. Annual Reports, containing a high level summary, are published here

This page attempts to outline how ArduPilot Project 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 with elections held each December. The currently elected members are:

  • Tom Pittenger

  • James Pattison

  • Andy Piper

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.

Getting Paid

Payments from ArduPilot are made in one of two ways:

  • ArduPilot’s SPI liaison (the team member who has been elected to be the main point of contact with SPI) can make payments via PayPal

  • Through direct bank transfer. Follow the instructions here to create a Reimbursement Request and send to ArduPilot’s SPI liaison along with receipts