Introducing Edge - Advanced drone controller with HDMI video input and 5.8GHz data link

Hey everyone,

More than three years ago Emlid was born with the idea of building a versatile and powerful drone controller. We've pursued the concept of a controller that will become a primary platform for customizable drone projects when your goals go beyond the limits of traditional autopilot boards. Today we are thrilled to announce advanced drone controller Edge.

Emlid Edge is the first autopilot platform to feature an integrated HDMI input and video compression engine allowing it to capture Full HD video from an onboard camera such as GoPro or any other HDMI-capable camera. Video is streamed directly to the Ground Control Station over a long-range 5.8 GHz Wi-Fi link.

The kit consists of the Edge drone controller, external UAVCAN GNSS module, wide range power module based on Hall sensor and a long range 5.8 GHz Wi-Fi link. Edge features dual-processor architecture, temperature-stabilized dual IMU and plenty of ports for extensions all packed in thin and sleek aluminum case.

At its core Edge runs ArduPilot - the most fully-featured and robust open source autopilot software. Support for Edge is added in a user-friendly and cross-platform QGroundControl GCS. Mission planning, firmware updates, vehicle configuration and video stream viewing – everything is handled through a single application.

The kits are available for $699 and will be shipped in early November 2017. The limited quantity of kits is available in the first batch.

See the full specs on the Edge webpage and preorder now!

Views: 2061

Comment by Andreas Gazis on September 16, 2017 at 4:46am

@Nikola: soon, my precious:

http://mrobotics.io/the-solo-link/

Ash HD.T.C. thrakatulûk agh UDP-ishi krimpatul

Comment by Mikhail Avkhimenia on September 16, 2017 at 10:54pm

@ERIC WIKRAMANAYAKE

The connectors are DroneCode standard - JST GH.

@Simon Gibson-Poole

Of course, it would be possible to lower the power.

@MarioSpeedwagon

Thank you very much:)

@Nikola Rabchevsky

It is possible to transfer RC over this link too, all that is needed is to hook your RC controller to the laptop via PPM-USB adapter.

Comment by Kyle Nebel on September 20, 2017 at 8:08pm

@Mikhail Avkhimenia - I have a couple of questions

  1. Can non-USB Type A devices be used as GCS? On the product website it says...

    “Simply connect your device to Edge Wi-Fi network - telemetry and video from the camera will appear on the screen.” 

    Does this mean you can connect devices to the on board Tx/Rx via Wifi without the USB antenna (meaning tablets and other mobile devices running QGroundControl)? If this isn't so, can you connect via OTG cables? The flow of data and possible connect methods isn't exactly clear on the product page.
  2. Have you got any evidence to show your hardware interfacing with QGroundControl? If it is as simple as turning everything on and being connected to a Wifi network, I want to see it! No janky cables and setup to get the video feed displayed - just turn it all on, open QGroundControl and connect to the craft and BAM, there it all is. A video of it being used IRL would be fantastic.
  3. In terms of the power module current sensing cables, what and when will they be available? There is only a small mention of them on the product page but no associated hardware available to purchase.

All in all though, super excited to have an integrated Telemetry, Video Tx/Rx and Flight Computer coming to market. If it integrates well with tablets, the workflow for operations should be massively streamlined through using only one device for Video and Telemetry.

Comment by Mikhail Avkhimenia on September 21, 2017 at 2:23am

@Kyle Nebel

Those are great questions.

1. Using built-in WiFi of laptops/tablets is possible, but only on a short range. For a long-range transmission it is necessary to use WiFi module from the kit on a GCS laptop/tablet. It doesn't matter if it is USB-A or USB-OTG with adapter, but it is important that the device has a driver. Windows-based tablets should work without a hassle. 

2. We'll be showing videos of Edge real life usage soon, they are being prepared. It is exactly as you say - no long setup to get a video, open QGC and connect to Edge and voila!

3. Power module comes standard with XT60 connectors and wires supporting up to 60A of current, if you need more it will be necessary to change the wires to a thicker gauge ones (and optionally connector or solder directly) - these are available in any RC store. We'll think about providing them in our store for convenience.

Comment by Kyle Nebel on September 21, 2017 at 3:01am

@Mikhail Avkhimenia

Thanks for the info! I'm getting even more excited about the product from what I'm hearing!

I've sprung a few more questions related to the data transmission now that I'm on that train of thought:

  1. What is the short-distance range over Wifi without use of the antenna?
  2. Rated for up to 2km @ FHD with the antenna - is that loss of all signal or will telemetry extend beyond which the video feed drops? Effectively I'm asking if the two signals are somewhat separate and which one is the bottleneck?
  3. Are the transmission settings adjustable to gain better distance? ie dropping video quality to 720 for extended range?

I must have misinterpreted RE: power module. I read the description of it as requiring extra cables/connectors to enable current sensing at all, but from what you've said it will come standard with everything required for voltage and current sensing up to 12S and 60A throughput and will simply require thicker gauge cabling appropriate for 200A throughput? The module itself can handle up to 200A but the cabling requires upgrading.

Thanks for responsing, I really appreciate it! How much room is left for pre-orders of the first batch?

Comment by Mikhail Avkhimenia on September 21, 2017 at 4:01am

@Kyle Nebel

You're welcome :)

1. It's not much, approximately 50-200m depending on the capabilities of the device's built-in WiFi. 

2. That's around the signal loss, some telemetry packets may still arrive when the video ends, but the distance when telemetry ends is not far away in that case.

3. Lowering the quality may help a bit in keeping the video for longer.

You got it right about the power module, nothing extra needed to start using it.

There's still some room in the pre-order batch left, but judging by our previous pre-order campaigns it's hard to predict when it ends because orders usually come in waves.

Comment by Robert Leake on September 21, 2017 at 8:19am

@ Mikhail Avkhimenia

It's looking very nice mate - but can you shed some further light on the wifi link? From what I see in the provided images, it's essentially a set of two point to point wifi modems, so I have a few questions on that:

What does "up to 2km" really mean ;) I've seen enough unrealistic claims now that I see "up to" as "maybe in a vacuum) can you share any real world numbers and/or proof of that?

What are the specs on the modems i.e. antennas, output power, any "special sauce" that makes it more appropriate to this application than any old ubiquity radio? 

Comment by Mikhail Avkhimenia on September 22, 2017 at 9:04am

@Robert Leake

Of course, our numbers are explained quite simply - 2km is the maximum distance for video transmission we were able to achieve multiple times during our flight tests. Mileage may vary depending on the environment (obstacles, sources of RF noise around etc.). We'll be showing some videos soon.

WiFi modules have an output power of 27dBm, 5dBi antennas. There is some "special sauce" indeed, unlike most WiFi links that are configured for maximum throughput, our link is fine tuned for maximum distance.

Comment by Robert Leake on September 22, 2017 at 9:57am

@Mikhail Avkhimenia 

Fantastic! I'm glad to hear it and I'm looking forward to seeing the videos :) 

As for the modules, that's great to hear. So I guess the next question is, what kind of bitrate video could be reasonably expected if we needed to hit 1 - 1.5km of range. And is there any kind of configurable control over this ? i.e. trading off range for bitrate and vice versa ?

Comment by Mikhail Avkhimenia on September 23, 2017 at 7:23am

@Robert Leake

We're in the process pf working it all out :) Precise numbers will be provided a little bit later. 
Hopefully it won't require any tradeoffs. 

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