An open source drone community has been one of the hot phrases going around in 2021. Maybe it’s the concerns that certain companies (and by that, we mean DJI) are getting too big with an estimated, approximately 70% market share. Perhaps it’s the recent news that the U.S. government had placed DJI on a restricted trade list.
Either way, the open source drone community is growing. So who (or what) is building it? For starters, look to the Dronecode Foundation— a U.S.-based, vendor-neutral non-profit foundation for open source drone projects that operates under the Linux Foundation. From there, open source code requires contributors. And while some contributors could be software engineers committing code in their free time, many contributors work for private companies who also rely on the code to make their products.
The Dronecode Foundation shared a list of its top contributing organizations from 2020 with The Drone Girl. And there’s one private company in particular that’s made fairly significant waves in the news in terms of hiring growth, new product launches and more: Auterion. Far and away the biggest driver of growth at the Dronecode Foundation is Auterion, with 56.6% of total commits.
The second-largest contributing company was Drone Solutions, which is a consulting firm that works on drone technology development for other companies including delivery company Vayu and precision agriculture company Airlitix. Other notable contributors include AirMap, which has had its hands in many aspects of the drone industry including Remote ID and UTM, and drone delivery company Volansi.
Here are the 9 top contributing organizations to open source projects hosted under the Dronecode Foundation in 2020:
Across all of the Dronecode Foundation, more than 330 contributors representing more than 40 private companies and organizations made a combined 7,900 commits.
“We celebrate our community’s tremendous efforts and the drone industry’s resilience to overcome last year’s challenges,” said Ramón Roche, the Program Manager for the Dronecode Foundation. “As more organizations turn to open solutions, expect deep and meaningful integrations between today’s key players, enabled by open source.”
But it’s Auterion that stands out as the serious driver of contributors. “Of the top 10 contributors to the open-source projects hosted under the Dronecode Foundation in 2020, eight came from Auterion. What’s more, the top ten contributors combined managed more than 75% of the total contributions last year.
And Auterion’s commitment to the Dronecode Foundation is growing. While it made 56% of commits in 2020, that figure is up from 51% in 2019 and 33% in 2018.
Auterion and the Dronecode Foundation are closely tied. The co-founder and CEO of Auterion, Lorenz Meier, chairs the Dronecode Foundation. Kevin Sartori, the other co-founder of Auterion, is also a Dronecode Foundation board member.
And Auterion depends on open-source, given its position as the largest open-source drone software platform in the world, building an ecosystem of software-defined drones, payloads, and third party applications. They’re designed for use within a single platform based on open-source standards, which are then used by enterprise and government users.
“Auterion is the catalyst in open source software for drones because we are productizing the technology and making it easy to use, growing the number of companies that use it and build products that are compatible,” said Kevin Sartori, Auterion Co-Founder. “This is rapidly changing the way companies collect geospatial data, provide situational awareness, and deliver goods because now this technology is available to anyone.”