Florida based Startup Builds Ubuntu Powered Aerial Robotics

Apellix is a Florida based startup that specialises in aerial robotics. They intend to create safer work environments by replacing workers with its task-specific drones to complete high-risk jobs at dangerous/elevated work sites.

ubuntu robotics

Robotics with an Ubuntu Twist

Ubuntu is expanding its reach into robotics and IoT in a big way. A few years ago at the TechCrunch Disrupt event, UAVIA unveiled a new generation of its one hundred percent remotely operable drones (an industry first, they claimed), which were built with Ubuntu under the hood. Then there were other like Erle Robotics (recently renamed to Acutronic Robotics) which made big strides in drone technology using Ubuntu at its core.

Apellix is the only aerial robotics company with drones "capable of making contact with structures through fully computer-controlled flight", claims Robert Dahlstrom, Founder and CEO of Apellix.

"At height, a human pilot cannot accurately gauge distance. At 45m off the ground, they can’t tell if they are 8cm or 80cm away from the structure. With our solutions, an engineer simply positions the drone near the inspection site, then the on-board computer takes over and automates the delicate docking process." He adds.

Apellix considered many popular Linux distributions before zeroing in on Ubuntu for its stability, reliability, and large developer ecosystem. Ubuntu's versatility also enabled Apellix to use the same underlying OS platform and software packages across development and production.

The team is currently developing on Ubuntu Server with the intent to migrate to Ubuntu Core. The company is also making extensive use of Ubuntu Server, both on-board its robotic systems and its cloud operations, according to a case study by Ubuntu's parent company, Canonical Foundation. 

apellix ubuntu drones

"With our aircraft, an error of 2.5 cm could be the difference between a successful flight and a crash," comments Dahlstrom. "Software is core to avoiding those errors and allowing us to do what we do - so we knew that placing the right OS at the heart of our solutions was essential."