A Survey of Open-Source UAV Flight Controllers and Flight Simulators

Emad Samuel Malki Ebeid*, Martin Skriver, Kristian Husum Terkildsen, Kjeld Jensen, Ulrik Pagh Schultz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The current disruptive innovation in civilian drone (UAV) applications has led to an increased need for research and development in UAV technology. The key challenges currently being addressed are related to UAV platform properties such as functionality, reliability, fault tolerance, and endurance, which are all tightly linked to the UAV flight controller hardware and software. The lack of standardization of flight controller architectures and the use of proprietary closed-source flight controllers on many UAV platforms, however, complicates this work: solutions developed for one flight controller may be difficult to port to another without substantial extra development and testing. Using open-source flight controllers mitigates some of these challenges and enables other researchers to validate and build upon existing research. This paper presents a survey of the publicly available open-source drone platform elements that can be used for research and development. The survey covers open-source hardware, software, and simulation drone platforms and compares their main features.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMicroprocessors and Microsystems
Pages (from-to)11-20
Publication statusPublished - 1. Sept 2018


  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
  • Survey
  • Open Platforms
  • Drone Simulators
  • Flight Controllers
  • Drones


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