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I have been using ardupilot on drones for a while and I don't exactly know what it does. I know it keeps a drone leveled, lets us set way points and automatically fly through them, etc. Is that it? If so why is the pixhawk so expensive? don't you just need a cheap imu and gps with a $5 pi zero. I might be mixing up pixhawk's hardware and ardupilot. But yeah what do they do individually? and how do they do it? It it just hard coded to add more thrust to a few motors if its tilted, just use gps to go to a location, etc or is there more to it.

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Quick answer: Hardware wise the Ardupilot is based on the "Arduino", I can't remember what chip it actually uses, but it's Arduino compatible. Pixhawk uses a 32-bit chip, this chip is faster than the Ardu's chip.

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