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Low-cost RTK GPS receiver (centimeter level precision) with open source software and board design targeted at UAVs.
303 backers pledged $166,097 to help bring this project to life.

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Hurray! All Piksi Rewards Shipped!

Posted by Swift Navigation Inc. (Creator)
2 likes

Hello again, Kickstarter backers!

This news may be more exciting to us than to all of you, but we have finally finished shipping out all of your Piksi OEM Module and Piksi RTK Kit Kickstarter orders!  Yes, the vast majority of you received your shipments weeks ago, but we still had a few stragglers that needed special attention for reasons like delivery logistics and unique programming (you know who you are).  

So, we are taking this opportunity to reiterate a few things:

  • There is a support forum where you can read our engineers' responses to other users' questions.  If you have a question that you don't see answered in an existing thread, you can post it on the forum here.
  • We know that there are bugs in the code, and we strongly appreciate everyone who has helped to identify and fix them!  We're working hard to get everything running smoothly and happily as intended, and we promise to keep you updated as we move along.
  • This is all good news to you Lodestar orderers, as it means that we can shift our focus to the future with even more gusto than before.  Hang in there - Lodestar is going to be awesome :)

With this milestone, we are gradually shifting our client correspondence away from Kickstarter and more towards our primary website and email.  For all non-support related inquiries, please reach us at info@swift-nav.com.  For you late comers who are reading this after the Kickstarter campaign has closed, if you would like a Piksi RTK Kit, you can order one through our online webstore here.  It will ship out within 5 business days of you ordering it.

Most importantly, thank you to each and every one of you for supporting us.  It's been an amazing journey thus far - stay tuned for some exciting announcements over the next few months!

Kind regards,

Swift Navigation Team

Shipping Update, Magnetized Piksi Shield

Posted by Swift Navigation Inc. (Creator)
1 like

Hello everyone,

We just wanted to give you a quick update on our shipping progress. Things started slowly but surely with us ramping up our pre-shipping testing and programming processes. Its a laborious process but each and every board is connected to the antenna on our roof and tested before shipment to ensure that every board we send out is fully functional.

Unfortunately on Friday we heard from one of the early Piksi recipients that they had experienced some problems flying Piksi on their fixed wing UAV platform. They tracked down the issue and found that Piksi was mounted right next to the compass of the autopilot and was causing a magnetic disturbance.

After some analysis we found that the metal covers which shield the Piksi electronics from RF interference are in fact made from steel and were supplied from the factory slightly magnetized!

Fortunately our friends at Planet Labs came to the rescue and lent us their large degausser. This has allowed us to reduce the strength of the magnetic field below half what it was before, but we advise all our backers, especially those who have already received their Piksis, to be very careful to mount the Piksi away from any magnetic compasses used by your system. Also, if your autopilot provides a compass calibration capability then you should be sure to recalibrate with the Piksi installed.

We have now finished degaussing all the remaining Piksis and are resuming shipping, but unfortunately this has caused a few days delay in the shipping process.

Also, many of you have emailed to ask for tracking numbers for your shipments. Our order fulfilment system will automatically send you your tracking number when your order has been shipped so if you have not yet received your tracking number then your order has not yet been processed. We are progressing thought the orders quickly now so it shouldn't be long!

Thanks,

The Swift Navigation Team

A Shipping Announcement

Posted by Swift Navigation Inc. (Creator)
5 likes

Hello, Kickstarter backers!

The day has arrived: here at Swift Navigation, we are excited to announce the release of our Piksi RTK Kits and OEM Modules!

As you know, we introduced Piksi late last year as the world’s first open-source GPS system with two-centimeter accuracy for under $1,000.  Your response was overwhelming – we received over 10 times the number of orders that we aimed for!

Fergus, Ian, and Niels try their best to not look exhausted.
Fergus, Ian, and Niels try their best to not look exhausted.

Now, after months of taxing your patience while we tackled production obstacles and built the RTK software, we are proud to say that your orders are on their way.  But this is not the end of the road – the software is still in its beta stage, and we look forward to hearing from you and addressing your feedback with firmware updates for the inevitable bug or two.

Important Stuff

Okay everyone, here are some notes for when these devices begin to hit your doorsteps:

The first batch of many...
The first batch of many...

From the bottoms of our hearts, we sincerely thank you for supporting our company vision to provide affordable, high-accuracy positioning for any application. This dream has been a long time in the making, and while this is just the beginning, it would have never been possible without the support and encouragement from each one of you.

Sincerely,

Colin, Fergus, Tim, Ian, Niels, and Andrew

Great progress on RTK software, new RTK Kit shipping date (April 15)

Posted by Swift Navigation Inc. (Creator)
4 likes

Hello everyone,

First off, I'd like to apologize, as we have not met our revised shipping deadline of January 31st for the Production Edition RTK Kits. The RTK software has been a tougher nut to crack than we originally anticipated, but thanks to Ian and Fergus's hard work it is now working in post processing. The complete signal processing chain, from the GPS radio waves that arrive at Piksi's antenna, to the centimeter-accurate relative positions that are the system's output, has now been fully implemented and verified.

Ian says these are the covariance plots of the ambiguity resolution engine, but all I see are some cool circles.
Ian says these are the covariance plots of the ambiguity resolution engine, but all I see are some cool circles.

There is still work to be done to port that code to the Piksi hardware. This is a decent chunk of software development, but we're now in the homestretch. Software development timelines are always difficult to estimate, so we want to make sure we avoid pushing the delivery date again by being too optimistic about the schedule. With this in mind, we're promising you a ship-by date of April 15th for the Production RTK Kits.

A sunny San Francisco afternoon, our dual antenna setup taking in the rays
A sunny San Francisco afternoon, our dual antenna setup taking in the rays

We've added a new member to our team, one Niels Joubert of Stanford's computer science department. He's an amazing software developer and engineer, and we're very lucky to have him making contributions to the product. Some of you will be pleased to hear that his first project is adding support for Piksi to the Ardupilot system. This support is an utmost priority for us, and now we can finally give it the resources it deserves.

Niels Joubert / Piksi / 3DR Pixhawk
Niels Joubert / Piksi / 3DR Pixhawk

We've now finished shipping all the SUPPORT and T SHIRT rewards, so if you haven't received yours yet, it should be arriving soon.

Thank you for your continued support and patience!

Colin and Fergus

Developer RTK Kits shipped

Posted by Swift Navigation Inc. (Creator)
3 likes

Hi everyone,

We are very excited to report that all the developer edition kits have now shipped!

We have spent the last few weeks perfecting the bootloader that is programmed onto the boards to make sure it is correct as it will be difficult to upgrade in the field. This included finalising the communications protocol that will be used by Piksi (called SBP) as this is also shared by the bootloader.

With all this complete we were happy to ship out the developer units and are really excited to see what our backers will do with them!

Colin hacking away testing the units before shipment
Colin hacking away testing the units before shipment
Developer units being boxed up.
Developer units being boxed up.

Our new engineer Ian has been making awesome progress on the RTK software and it is getting much closer to release. Its still a few weeks out and requires some real world testing but once that is done we should be very close to shipping the production edition rewards as well.

All the hardware is now in stock for the production edition RTK kits so getting the software ready for release is the last hurdle. As usual Hofstadter's law is in effect but the light is at the end of the tunnel!

Thanks,
Fergus and Colin