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I'm interested in attaching custom camera(s) to a quadcopter that can carry a modest (<0.25 kg) payload.

I prefer to write code to fly the quadcopter (e.g. traverse a region and image) rather than operate it manually.

  • Is this existing tech or do I need to build my own?

SDK's for quadcopters seem few and far between (DJI, Parrot, and a few others). Most appear to be phone based, not Windows or Linux based. I want to write code to either control from remote (e.g. PC interface) or run on the microcontroller to have it operate autonomously. Again, is this existing tech or DIY?

Finally, most of the commercial options with SDK's don't carry custom payloads. Only the DJI Matrice 100 seems designed for custom sensors. Is this a proper assessment or are there more options?

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You need not write code unless you really want to (i would strongly advise against it), all platforms related to APM/PIXHAWK will do so, are opensource and proven to work, essentially you can get the information about these things here:
https://ardupilot.org/
https://github.com/ArduPilot
https://px4.io/
https://github.com/PX4/Firmware

Now you only need to chose an existing platform and integrate it, have fun and remember to be cautious about the documentation, it is not perfect and the learning curve can be steep, but for simple solutions you should find something for you, or create your own custom solution as countless have done. (it is linux, windows, mac, mobile, etc.)

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  • $\begingroup$ So these are open source S/W. Do they only work with DIY copters? Are there any ready-to-fly (RTF) copters that run this S/W? $\endgroup$ – user3533030 Dec 20 '19 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ you can find them but it is quit region specific where you can get RTF models and how good support or fast delivery is. They work with everything hardware that is supported as a platform. $\endgroup$ – AnafiFlyer Jan 10 at 9:09

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