UAV autopilot fight: 3DR Ardupilot APM versus uThere Ruby

These two are some of the most capable autopilots out there right now, lets see what they got.

3D Robotics ArduPilot APM 2.5 / 2.6A popular full featured autopilot that can put used on planes, quads or ground vehicles. Open Source Arduino based. Telemetry can be added; 3D Robotics 900MHz 100mW but you won’t get far on that, however boosters can be bought from Shireen. Ground station software is available and free. Large forum community. Requires current sensor minimOSD and GPS UBlox-6. $75-300 total depending on origin, beware of poor clones out there, AIOP or other 2560 micro-controllers. RCTimer clones are good. V2.6 includes an external compass (magnetometer) to avoid interference.

uThere Ruby – Like the APM this has auto take off, assisted flight/fly by wire, loiter, autonomous landing, panic mode/RTH, comes with its own GPS, current sensor, barometer, and magnetometer. Has Airspeed sensor which is another $25 on APM. The OSD is an add-on module (RubyOSD) – $140, yet APM’s OSD is minimOSD which is only $40. Under development is a new ground control software with way-point generation for PC and two way 900MHz telemetry at 250mW and a 750mW!  This could make for a complete robotic long range UAS. Weighs 30g, $345 + optional OSD & telemetry systems.

Conclusion: uThere costs more but has great direct customer support, APM is cheaper but you rely on blogs for any support. uThere’s ground control is not fully functional yet, APM’s ground control works brilliantly. Winner is APM! but only because uThere is still expensive for the hobbyist and the ground station is not released yet. Both are amazing and I think once Ruby fully develops is will be right there with APM.

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