Hamish Wilee is maintainer for PX4 documentation (user guide and developer guide). He has helped and enabled many new community members to get started with PX4. He has two decades of experience in the developer relations field, and likes to work with developers to create cohesive, dynamic and respectful communities. You can find him on GitHub at https://github.com/hamishwillee
Can you tell us the story of how you got into PX4? (example: university or research project, hobby project…)
I’ve started work in community developer support and technical writing more than 20 years ago – while on a “gap year” in London. Many years later, the friends I made then connected me with the teams that became Dronecode. The rest is history!
What company do you work for and what’s your “day role”?
Auterion employ me as a full time contractor. I work on documentation and discussion board support for PX4, MAVLink, MAVSDK, and QGroundControl. I also work on documentation for Auterion’s products, and support marketing and other documentation efforts.
What is your current project based on PX4?
There is no one “current” project, which is one of the great challenges and joys of working with PX4. In any day I might be creating documentation for a new PX4 feature, subediting a newsletter, or helping a new user understand how to contribute to MAVLink.
What is your professional and educational background?
Bachelor of Engineering (Electronics & Communications), University of Tasmania. Master of Engineering in Micromachining, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Early/mid career worked in Symbian and Symbian Foundation on mobile operating system documentation and developer support, leading eventually to developer community management for Nokia. Following that I’ve been contracting in various open source communities, with a more recent focus on drones.
What is your “area of expertise” within PX4?
What is the most unique thing you have done in drones/robotics? (example: made a snake robot…)
What is your current favourite setup for development kit (hardware, software..)?
Headless JMAVSim simulation in Ubuntu 18.04 VM with QGC and VSCode. While JMAVSim is limited to quadcopter simulation it is the most light-weight setup to get up and running with PX4, and makes it trivially easy to test running multiple vehicles at the same time.
When hardware is required I use a “lunchbox setup” with CUAV v5 nano that arrived several weeks ago – thanks CUAV! Previously I used a Pixhawk Mini for the same purpose.
What languages do you speak?
English, Python and C++ 🙂
Where are you from and where did you grow up?
Melbourne, Australia. I grew up in Tasmania.
I have many. Just for a start: Magician (Raymond E. Feist), The Name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss).
What advice would you give to fellow drone developers who just joined the PX4 community?
Take the time to set up SITL (simulation). Crashing a simulated vehicle is cheap. Before you ask questions, read the documents and make it clear what you have tried. People are more likely to help you with specific questions than very general ones.
If someone from the community was able to help you by providing new information then please contribute it back into the user guides – that way everyone benefits!