We are proud to announce that we have released most of Skybrush, our ultimate multi-UAV mission and drone show management platform as an open-source project.
We share Skybrush because we would like to support it to grow, blossom and evolve in the most motivating environment for all the current and future users in a hopefully quickly expanding worldwide community.
Our vision with Skybrush is to become the leading open-source multi-UAV control and management platform, which is used not only for drone shows, but in other diverse drone industries, such as agriculture, surveillance, delivery or others.
The brief history of Skybrush #
It all started with the collective motion of animals. Professor Tamás Vicsek at Eötvös University, Budapest, Hungary started a large EU ERC Advanced grant – called COLLMOT from the abbreviation of collective motion – back in 2009, to investigate how animals move together, how they make collective decisions and how all this could be replicated after all by artificial robotic agents. Founders of CollMot Robotics, the spinoff behind Skybrush gathered under this research project as scientists combining so diverse disciplines as biology, ethology, statistical physics, information technology, network science, artificial intelligence, computer vision and aerial robotics.
It took 5 years to understand the basics of natural flocking behaviour to a degree that allowed us to replicate such decentralized yet synchronized motion for the first time with 10 autonomous quadcopters out on the field.
The international reception and media coverage of this scientific result inspired us to found CollMot Robotics and try to sell services and products related to drone swarms.
But this vision was way ahead of existing drone swarm market opportunities that time. The only opening niche that started to rely on growing numbers of drones flying together was drone shows. So CollMot quickly became one of the world’s first drone show providers, showcasing unprecedented real-time interactions on the stage between dancers and swarms of drones already back in 2015.
Since then we provide indoor and outdoor drone shows, drone launched fireworks, holographic aerial image projections and other interesting special effects as a service, and in the meantime we have been developing Skybrush continuously as our own well tested and rock solid platform for controlling large numbers of drones during these demanding live stage events.
We have also advanced a lot on the drone swarm research front since then, with 30, 50, and up to now 100 autonomous drones flying together in different demanding cooperative scenarios, which also required very stable and accurate ground monitoring and mission control with real-time RTK corrections sent to all drones and also real-time communication between drones and operators, to achieve smooth and quick logistics with such a fleet and to be able to react quickly to any emergent critical situation without further consequences.
By now, Skybrush is our most advanced software framework for multi-UAV mission management in general, and for full-cycle drone show management in particular.
Why open-source? #
The founders of Skybrush are researchers with a solid background in the field of collective intelligence. We have spent more than a decade with investigating the wisdom and strength of the crowd, the benefits of decentralization and collective decision making. With this mindset, the only obvious way ahead for us is to apply this experience and deep knowledge to our own business and tech development models as well.
We share Skybrush because we are proud of it, and because we envision a growing community around it, consisting of enthusiastic and motivated experts and users all around the world who can join our mission to create something great for the future. The drone industry is evolving at light speed, our team alone is too small yet to keep pace with it. But we have a core that is rock solid and we know for sure that great things can be built on top of it.
Why is Skybrush so powerful? #
Skybrush has been developed with high-end precision. It has a very clear and modular structure based on our abstract structural thinking that allows for easy extendibility.
Skybrush code is very organized and human readable. Skybrush uses state-of-the-art programming languages such as Python or TypeScript, relies on well chosen, fresh and stable dependencies.
Skybrush is very well documented, and its source code is also very well documented, annotated and structured – and if you still have questions, our team is there for you on our Discord community channel to discuss.
How to join our efforts? #
The Skybrush webpage contains all the necessary info for getting started, regardless of whether you are a drone show business operator, drone operator, drone manufacturer, developer, robotics researcher or other interested.
Our Support page covers all available resources for Skybrush users. Have a nice flight!
We have a Discord server where you can talk to other Skybrush users and get in touch directly with the developers if you would like to develop something awesome.
Please support us #
Skybrush is open-source and is free to use. Please consider supporting us financially with your donation to help Skybrush grow towards our vision, which will hopefully serve You as well.
We also provide professional and enterprise licences of some components with extra features and VIP support for professional businesses. Take a look at our shop and remember that paying for Skybrush components allows us to increase our efforts on the development.
Cover photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash