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Joseph (JJ) Jacks for COSS Community

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OCS 2020 Breakout: Dr. Lorenz Meier

Dr. Lorenz Meier is the Co-Founder and CEO of Auterion, and the Chairman of the Dronecode Foundation. Drone industry veteran since 2008. Creator of the open source and open hardware gold standards in the drone industry: Pixhawk, MAVLink, QGroundControl. Founder of the PX4 Autopilot open source project.

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OS software stacks, particularly PX4, taking over the industry and a new pattern emerges: Open architectures that allow installing 3rd party software onboard.

In 2008, you created the open-source project Pixhawk. What was the catalyst for that and what was the goal of the project in the early days? - 0:17

How has the project evolved over the last few years, and what does the project look like today? - 2:15

What kinds of companies are asking about PX4 skills? Is this broadly in the software industry, or is this only companies focused on building devices, drones, and autonomous robots? At what point do companies start thinking about hiring engineers with PX4 experience? - 5:20

For open source in the drone industry, what does the adoption look like there? Is open source a big part of the drone industry’s evolution overall, in terms of technology and software? - 7:08

Auterion was founded just a few years ago, but you’ve grown really quickly around your open-source technology and community. What have been your learnings in growing a company from zero to the scale it is today? Does open-source shape the way you think about hiring or your business model or product development? - 9:22

I love how you said the skills involved in building a company are similar to those of building an open-source community. (JJ elaborates, referencing this content about “open source MBAs”, from Matt Klein of Envoy: https://www.infoworld.com/article/3600448/open-source-your-way-to-an-mba.html). I’m curious about the business model that you’ve evolved into, and how you see that evolving over time as well. How are you thinking through commercializing PX4? Are you selling hardware along with software? Just software? Talk about the ways you’ve commercialized the open-source technology. - 12:40

On the PX4 ecosystem governance side, is it really important for Auterion to have a strong contributor base employed and concentrated in the company? Or is it just as valuable to see a lot of diverse non-Auterion contributions? - 15:28

I’m curious what the future looks like. You’ve built the company up to around 50 people today. Could you give us some highlights of what the business looks like today, and what the next few years looks like? - 17:17


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