ArduPilot Partners Program¶
The ArduPilot Project is the result of an immense amount of effort from software and hardware engineers, beta testers, web developers, documenters, researchers and many others. A vast number of individuals, institutions and companies use and contribute to ArduPilot - in the spirit of Free and Open Source Software we freely and openly welcome their involvement in the project. There is no cost to use, or contribute to, any software provided by ArduPilot. The Project does incur costs though, so this page explains our Partners Program for corporate sponsors.
Why a Partners Program¶
ArduPilot is a free and open-source software project that includes:
- Embedded firmware that is designed to serve as the control system for autonomous vehicles, and supports many different hardware targets listed on the Supported Hardware page
- A number of Ground Control Station software applications that allow management of vehicles running ArduPilot firmware, e.g. more convenient settings editing on an often more comfortable interface, firmware download and transfer, upgrading and conversion of settings between different devices and versions, fleet management, operations monitoring and more
- The https://ardupilot.org website, https://discuss.ardupilot.org forum and this wiki
- Server infrastructure dedicated to distributing software and firmware, and testing/building/distributing of the different variants for all the different supported platforms and options
- A global community of users with an enormous variety of goals and expectations
- A global team of developers with deep technical knowledge of the project’s code and of its management
In order to continue providing, maintaining and improving the rich ArduPilot ecosystem, the Project relies heavily on generous donations of time from many people - but we also incur financial costs that must be covered. Simplistically, meeting these costs is what the Partners Program achieves.
The partnerships we have with companies also help to guide the development of ArduPilot. We look to the partners to help us choose what features to prioritise, what documentation we need to work on and how we can best use the funds we have available to continue to make ArduPilot the best autopilot available.
One of the biggest benefits to a company of joining the partners program is the deep level of technical support that we can provide. For each partner we create a private discussion channel where the partner can ask questions, post logs for review or discuss features. We also have a shared channel that all partners can access to facilitate discussions between partners.
The partners program funds 3 highly qualified support engineers to help support the needs of partners. These support engineers are not full time, but we do strive to provide very timely support for partners and we’re proud of our track record of providing top quality support and technical advice.
For more complex development tasks we may refer the partner to a dev team member who can provide more extensive paid consulting in a specialist area.
Monthly Partners Call¶
In addition to the private partner support channel, we also hold a monthly meeting that all partners are invited to where the core development team presents an update on the development of ArduPilot and discusses priorities with partners. We use this meeting to hold in-depth technical discussions with partners on any topic of interest, plus it gives an opportunity for partners to announce new products.
How does my company become a partner?¶
The first step in becoming a partner is to email the partners program coordinator at email@example.com to start the application process.
You will receive a reply within a couple of days. After that the steps are:
- you will receive a link to a form to fill in giving details of your application
- you will need to agree to abide by the ArduPilot Code of Conduct
- you will need to make a payment of a minimum of US$1000. For larger companies we strongly encourage larger contributions, with typical amounts of $5000 to $10000 for companies that rely on ArduPilot for their business. Details of payment methods are given below
- you will need to send a logo to put on our website, unless you specifically ask not to be included in the public list of partners
- once payment is received we will create the private support channel for your company (on discord or skype) and add you to the partners list
- the partners coordinator will setup a time to have an onboarding call to get to know you and to learn how we can best support your use of ArduPilot
- you can then add the ArduPilot Partner logo on your website to show your support for the ArduPilot project
- you will be added to the partners mailing list and partners discord channel
- you will receive an invitation to the monthly partners development call
After you have filled in the partner application form the partners coordinator will ask you to make your payment. We can accept payments in a number of ways.
- the simplest and preferred method is via paypal to the ArduPilot Foundation
- you can do a bank transfer directly to the ArduPilot Foundation Australian bank account. The partners coordinator can give you the bank account details on request
- if neither of the first two options are suitable, you can donate via the SPI click and pledge system at Click&Pledge
- finally we can give you bank details for donating directly to our SPI US bank account
How are collected funds spent?¶
Funds are first used to cover fixed costs including servers to host the wiki, forum, autotest and build servers and other running expenses. We also fund 3 part time highly qualified support engineers to help partners with support, and the partners coordinator position to ensure the partners program runs smoothly.
A Funding Committee of 3 members is voted on annually from within the Development Team to oversee and control financial matters.
I’m not a company, but I love your work, how can I help?¶
Please see our more general, how-to-donate page but in short, we accept donations of any amount from individuals as well. Also please consider helping out with documentation, beta testing or code development. Tell your friends and post videos of your successes with ArduPilot!
I want a new feature, do I have to be a partner to get it?¶
No. ArduPilot is, and always will be, open source. Contributions to the code base, wherever they come from, are accepted based on their technical merits. If you’re not in a position to make the changes yourself, please add it to the Issues list or consider contracting one of the companies listed on the Commercial Support page to make the change.