Drone is an Embedded Operating System for writing real-time applications in Rust. It aims to bring modern development approaches without compromising performance into the world of embedded programming.

Supported hardware

As of today, Drone can run on ARMv7-M, ARMv8-M, and RISC-V architectures. It is tested on Cortex®-M3, Cortex®-M4, Cortex®-M33, Nuclei Bumblebee cores, and STM32, NRF52, NRF91, GD32VF103 MCU series.

Other hardware support is likely to be added in the future. One restriction for adding a new architecture is that it must implement atomic CAS (compare-and-swap) operations, as Drone highly relies on good atomics support from hardware.

As of debug probes, Drone utilities provide native support for J-Link and Black Magic Probe, as well as generic interface to OpenOCD.

Design principles

  • Energy effective from the start. Drone encourages interrupt-driven execution model.

  • Hard Real-Time. Drone relies on atomic operations instead of using critical sections.

  • Fully preemptive multi-tasking with strict priorities. A higher priority task takes precedence with minimal latency.

  • Highly concurrent. Multi-tasking in Drone is very cheap, and Rust ensures it is also safe.

  • Message passing concurrency. Drone ships with synchronization primitives out of the box.

  • Single stack by default. Drone concurrency primitives are essentially stack-less state machines. But stackful tasks are still supported.

  • Dynamic memory enabled. Drone lets you use convenient data structures like mutable strings or vectors while still staying deterministic and code efficient.

Why use Drone?

  • Async/await by default. Drone provides all required run-time to use native async/await syntax and execute Futures.

  • Doesn't require unsafe code. In spite of the fact that Drone core inevitably relies on unsafe code, Drone applications can fully rely on the safe abstractions provided by Drone.

  • Modern tooling. Apart from standard Rust tools like cargo package manager, rustfmt code formatter, clippy code linter, Drone provides drone command-line utility which can generate a new Drone project for your hardware, or manage your debug probe.

  • Primary stack is stack-overflow protected regardless of MMU/MPU presence. But secondary stackful tasks require MMU/MPU to ensure the safety.

  • Debug communication channels. Rust's print!, eprint! and similar macros are mapped to Cortex-M's SWO channels 0 and 1 out of the box. Debug messages incur no overhead when no debug probe is connected.

  • Drone.toml configuration file, which saves you from manually writing linker scripts.

  • Rich and safe zero-cost abstractions for memory-mapped registers. Drone automatically generates register bindings from vendor-provided SVD files. It also provides a way to write code generic over similar peripherals.

What Drone doesn't

  • Drone doesn't support loading dynamic applications. It is a library OS and is linked statically with its application.

  • Drone doesn't implement time-slicing. It has a different execution model, but optional time-slicing may be added in the future.