v0.4.4 - Timing and Sound (February 2nd, 2022)

Several parts to this update!

  • See PR#146 for details about improvements to jackd sound timing! In short:

  • Changed the way that continuous sounds work. Rather than cycling through an array, which was easy to drop, now pass a sound object that can generate its own samples on the fly using the hydration module.

  • More accurate timing of sound ending callbacks. Before, the event would be called immediately on buffering the sounds into the jack ports, but that was systematically too early. Instead, use jack timing methods to account for delay from blocksize and n_periods to wait_until a certain delay to set() the event. See _wait_for_end

Other stuff:


  • hydration module for creating and storing autopilot objects between processes and computers!

  • @Introspect made and added to sound classes. Will be moved to root class. Allows storing the parameters given on instantiation.

  • requires module for more explicit declarations of by-object dependencies to resolve lots of the little fragile checks throughout the package, as well as make it easier for plugins :)

  • types module that will, well, have types for v0.5.0’s reworked type system!

  • minor - added exceptions module, just stubs for now

  • Made dummy sound class to just use sounds without needing a running sound server

  • New transformations! The Prasad line fitting algorithm as Linefit_Prasad and ordering points in a line from, eg. edge detection in ``Order_Points` `


  • Only warn once for returning a default pref value, and make its own warning class so that it can be filtered.

  • Cleaning up the base sound classes and moved them to their own module because sounds was very cumbersome and hard to reason about. Now use get_sound_class instead of declaring within the module.

  • Made optional install packages as extras_require so now can install with pip install auto-pi-lot -E pilot rather than autodetecting based on architecture. Further improvements (moving to poetry) will be in v0.5.0


  • Correctly identify filenames in logging, before the last module name was treated as a suffix on the path and removed, and so only the most recent logger created would actually log to disk. Logging now works across threads and processes.

  • Fall back to a non-multiprocessing-based prefs if for some reason we can’t use a mp.Manager in the given context (eg. ipython) - Still need to figure out a way to not print the exception because it is thrown asynchronously.

  • as much as i love it, the splash screen being absent for whatever reason shouldn’t crash the program.

  • Raise an exception when instantiating a picamera without having picamera installed, re: https://github.com/auto-pi-lot/autopilot/issues/142

  • Raise ImportError when ffmpeg is not present and trying to use a videowriter class

  • Use a deque rather than an infinitely growing list to store GPIO events.


  • Documenting the scripts module a bit better.

  • Lots more docs on jack_server

v0.4.3 (October 20th, 2021)

New Features

Minor Improvements

  • 579ef1a - En route to implementing universal calibrations, load and save them in a specified place for each hardware object instead of the horrific olde way which was built into prefs for some reason

  • prefs attempts to make directories if they don’t exist

  • plenty of new debugging flags!


  • a775723 - Sleep before graduating tasks, lateral fix until we rework the task initiation ritual

  • 360062d - pad sounds with silence or continuous sounds if they aren’t a full period length

  • 6614c80 - Revert to old way of making chunks to make it work with both padded and unpadded sounds

  • Import sounds module directly instead of referring from the package root in tests

  • Terminal node pings pilots instead of an erroneous reference to a nonexistent Terminal.send method

  • 47dd4c2 - Fix pinging by passing pilot id, and handle pressing start/stop button when subject not selected

  • Fixed some GUI exceptions from trying to make blank lines in reassign window, improperly handling the Subject class.

v0.4.2 (August 24th)

Minor Improvements

  • Transformer can now forward processed data and input data in addition to returning the processed data. A lateral improvement until the streaming API is finished.

  • Slice now accepts arbitrary indexing objects, rather than just slice objects. Not sure why this wasn’t the case before.


  • Fixed a circular import problem that prevented the stim module from being imported because the placeholder metaclass was in the __init__.py file. Moved it to its own file.

  • Fixed another instantiated but not raised value error in gpio


  • Documenting flags in networking objects

  • Documenting min_size in camera stream method

  • Documenting invert_gyro in I2C_9DOF

v0.4.1 (August 17th)


  • The autopilot.setup.forms.HARDWARE_FORM would incorrectly use the class object itself rather than the class name in a few places which caused hardware names to incorrectly display and be impossible to add!

  • Correctly handle module name in loggers when running interactively

  • Use accelerometer calibration when computing rotation()

  • Use autopilot.get() in autopilot.transform.make_transform()


v0.4.0 - Become Multifarious (August 3rd, 2021)

This release is primarily to introduce the new plugin system, the autopilot wiki, and their integration as a way of starting the transformation of Autopilot into a tool with decentralized development and governance (as well as make using the tool a whole lot easier and more powerful).

With humble thanks to Lucas Ott, Tillie Morris, Chris Rodgers, Arne Meyer , Mikkel Roald-Arbøl , David Robbe , and an anonymous discussion board poster for being part of this release.

New Features

  • Registries & Plugins - Autopilot now supports users writing their code outside of the library as plugins! To support this, a registry system was implemented throughout the program. Plugin objects can be developed as objects that inherit from the Autopilot object tree – eg. implementing a GPIO object by subclassing hardware.gpio.GPIO , or a new task by subclassing Task . This system is flexible enough to allow any lineage of objects to be included as a plugin – stimuli, tasks, and so on – and we will be working to expand registries to every object in Autopilot, including the ability for plugins to replace core modules to make Autopilot’s flexibility verge on ludicrous. The basic syntax of the registry system is simple and doesn’t require any additional logic beyond inheritance to be implemented on plugin objects – autopilot.get('object_type', 'object_name') is the basic method, with a few aliases for specific object types like autopilot.get_hardware(). Also thanks to Arne Meyer for submitting an early draft of the registry system and Mikkel Roald-Arbøl for raising the issue.

  • At long last, the Autopilot Wiki is alive!!!! - https://wiki.auto-pi-lot.com/ - The wiki is the place for communal preservation of technical knowledge about using Autopilot, like hardware designs, build guides, parameter sets, and beyond! This isn’t any ordinary wiki, though, we got ourselves a semantic wiki which augments traditional wikis with a rich system of human and computer-readable linked attributes: a particular type of page will have some set of attributes, like a page about a 3D printed part will have an associated .stl file, but rather than having these be in plaintext they are specified in a format that is queryable, extensible, and infinitely mutable. The vision for the wiki is much grander (but not speculative! very concrete!) than just a place to take notes, but is intended to blend the use of Autopilot as an experimental tool with body of knowledge that supports it. Autopilot can query the wiki with the wiki module like wiki.ask('[[Category:3D_CAD]]', 'Has STL') to get links to all .stl files for all 3D parts on the wiki. The integration between the two makes using and submitting information trivial, but also makes designing whole new types of community interfaces completely trivial. As a first pass, the Wiki will be the place to index plugins, the system for submitting them, querying them, and downloading them only took a few hours and few dozen lines of code to implement. The wiki is infinitely malleable – that’s the point – and I am very excited to see how people use it.

  • Tests & Continuous Integration with Travis! We are on the board with having nonzero tests! The travis page is here: https://travis-ci.com/github/auto-pi-lot/autopilot and the coveralls page is here: https://coveralls.io/github/auto-pi-lot/autopilot . At the moment we have a whopping 27% coverage, but as we build out our testing suite we hope that it will become much easier for people to contribute to Autopilot and be confident that it works!

  • New Hardware Objects
    • cameras.PiCamera - A fast interface to the PiCamera, wrapping the picamera library, and using tips from its developer to juice every bit of speed i could!

    • The I2C_9DOF object was massively improved to take better advantage of its onboard DSP and expose more of its i2c commands.

  • New Transforms
    • timeseries.Kalman - adapted a Kalman filter from the wonderful filterpy package! it’s in the new timeseries transform module

    • geometry.IMU_Orientation - IMU_Orientation performs a sensor fusion algorithm with the Kalman Filter class to combine gyroscope and accelerometer measurements into a better estimate of earth-centric roll and pitch. This is used by the IMU class, but is made independent so it can be used without an Autopilot hardware object/post-facto/etc.

    • timeseries.Filter_IIR - Filter_IIR implements scipy’s IIR filter as a transform object.

    • timeseries.Integrate - Integrate adds successive numbers together (scaled by dt if requested). not much by itself, but when used with a kalman filter very useful :)

    • geometry.Rotate - use scipy to rotate a vector by some angle in x, y, and/or z

    • geometry.Spheroid - fit and transform 3d coordinates according to some spheroid - used in the IMU’s accelerometer calibration method: given some target spheroid, and some deformed spheroid (eg. a miscalibrated accelerometer might have the x, y, or z axis scaled or offset) either explicitly set or estimated from a series of point measurements, transform future input given that transformation to correct for the deformed source spheroid.

  • New Prefs
    • 'AUTOPLUGIN' - Attempt to import the contents of the plugin directory,

    • 'PLUGIN_DB' - filename to use for the .json plugin_db that keeps track of installed plugins’,

    • 'PING_INTERVAL' - How many seconds should pilots wait in between pinging the Terminal?’,

    • 'TERMINAL_SETTINGS_FN' - filename to store QSettings file for Terminal’,

    • 'TERMINAL_WINSIZE_BEHAVIOR' - Strategy for resizing terminal window on opening’,

    • 'TERMINAL_CUSTOM_SIZE' - Custom size for window, specified as [px from left, px from top, width, height]’,

Major Improvements

  • Stereo Sound (Thank you Chris Rodgers!) - https://github.com/auto-pi-lot/autopilot/pull/102

  • Multihop messages & direct messaging - https://github.com/auto-pi-lot/autopilot/pull/99 - it is now possible to send multihop messages through multiple Station objects, as well as easier to send messages directly between net nodes. See the examples in the network tests section of the docs.

  • Multiple Children (Thank you Chris Rodgers!) - https://github.com/auto-pi-lot/autopilot/pull/103 - the CHILDID field now accepts a list, allowing a Pilot to initialize child tasks on multiple children. (this syntax and the hierarchical nature of pilots and children will be deprecated as we refactor the networking modules into a general mesh system, but this is lovely to have for now :)

  • Programmatic Setup - https://github.com/auto-pi-lot/autopilot/issues/33 - noninteractive setup of prefs and scripts by using autopilot.setup -f prefs.json -p PREFNAME=VALUE -s scriptname1 -s scriptname2

  • Widget to stream video, en route to more widgets for direct GUI control of hardware objects connected to pilots

  • Support python 3.8 and 3.9 essentially by not insisting that the spinnaker SDK be installable by all users (which at the time was only available for 3.7)

Minor Improvements


Code Structure

  • continuing to split out modules in autopilot.core - networking this time

  • utils is now a separate module instead of being in multiple places

  • the npyscreen forms in setup_autopilot were moved to a separate module

  • setup_autopilot was broken into functions instead of a very long and impenetrable script. still a bit of cleaning to do there.

  • autopilot.setup.setup_autopilot was always extremely awkward, so it’s now been aliased as autopilot.setup

  • the docs have now been split into subfolders rather than period separated names to make urls nicer – eg /dev/hardware/cameras.htm rather than /dev/hardware.cameras.html . this should break some links when switching between versions on readthedocs but other than that be nondestructive.


  • new Quickstart documentation with lots of quick examples!


  • Removed the check_compatible method in the Transforms class. We will want to make a call at some point if we want to implement a full realtime pipelining framework or if we want to use something like luigi or joblib or etc. for now this is an admission that type and shape checking was never really implemented but it does raise some exceptions sometimes.