How about this new Raspberry-pi Linux computer for $25 or $35 coupled with a sensor board ?

Has a header on board, video 256k memory hdi video or composit usc sdcard.......

see here for all specs..  http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Raspberry_Pi

Earl

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Comment by David Melendez on March 6, 2012 at 2:25pm

No extra board needed at all. I2C can be emulated with a kernel module.

Comment by shane.sanford on March 6, 2012 at 6:23pm

Think of the Raspberry PI as a potential evolutionary step in the mid range processing power market just like the Arduino was in the low end microprocessor market.  It is bringing real processing power at a very low $$$ cost (along with relatively low weight, small size, and with a small power budget).  The Arduino will never have the processing power to do real image processing or other CPU intensive tasks. 

If you are looking at the Raspberry PI as a straight replacement for what the Ardupilot is doing then you are missing the real advantages it brings to the table.  Sure you could interface it to something like ArduIMU and have a very nice auto pilot but the better use would be expanding the capabilities to image processing / swarm behavior / navigation through complex environments.

Time will tell if the Raspberry catches on and succeeds or is just blah.  Given that they have already sold hundreds of thousands in preorders it looks like it may be interesting…

 

Comment by Chris Paulson on March 6, 2012 at 8:37pm

I think shane.sanford is dead on about how this fits into the existing AP system. The one thing that I'll add is that the interfacing legwork is done. You have Mavlink and ROS for any and all communications between a Raspberry PI type board and the APM. You can outsource some tasks, like telemetry, to the application processor and even free up the microprocessor to do a little bit more digital filtering or processing.

Comment by Scott Fraser on March 7, 2012 at 2:14am

um just out of interest how plausible is it to use this as a OSD in combonation with the ardupiolt?  

the reason i ask this is because it is cheaper and more powerful than many on the market at the moment

if people were interested an imu and gps could be incorporated though i now that would be a very long way of  

Comment by Andrew Radford on March 7, 2012 at 6:08am

@Scott - this would make a decent ground station side GCS, as long as a video in could be interfaced. It already has composite video out, and could just use Mavlink messages to drive the OSD like the Planner and Minim OSD do.

Comment by Richard on March 7, 2012 at 11:45am

@Ellison Chan:

The GPIO has both I2C and SPI interfaces on it, as well as a UART - all at 3v3, but not 5v tolerant like Arduino.
There are only two hardware PWMs.

- This info is all given in the Wiki - http://elinux.org/RPi_Hardware

So, as shane said, this isn't a direct replacement for an Arduino.
You'll use an Arduino for the basic stabilisation, then the RPi for advanced tasks, eg image processing.

As for a camera - the RPi Foundation are planning to release a camera that plugs directly into the CSI port, and up until then a generic USB webcam could be used.

Comment by Jay Bryon on March 7, 2012 at 3:16pm

3.5 Watts is somewhat significant, but for larger platforms not so bad.  That said, it's not really optimized for the task, kind of a multitool when all you want is a flat head screwdriver, and a small one at that.  

But I could see this for a SAR drone, using predator (object recognition/tracking software, not the drone) and an high res camera to search for people.  At that point it's less an autopilot and more a flying vision computer.  

Comment by Brent Burton on March 9, 2012 at 8:22pm

The role I see RPi playing in the context of autopilots is running advanced, higher-level algorithms.

That is, the core autopilot engine knows how to move from point to point, follow altitude targets, etc. I'm not belittling any effort in saying this because I think people will understand what I mean, but these are simple tasks. They are accomplished on hardware as small as a microcontroller because their data representation and computational needs are small.

A larger compute engine, such as RPi, could then be used for computer vision as mentioned above, more complicated navigational tasks and path planning, and automatic mapping.

I'm anxious to see what people run on it when it becomes widely available.

Comment by Jan Detlefsen on March 9, 2012 at 9:51pm

they need tio figure out their logistics problem first. the step to license it to distributors was a good one but it's not enough. right now there are 55.000 pre order for APAC region alone. They need to open source the design ASAP or this whole thing will fail. Until then it's pointless to think what they are good for if you can not get one withotu waiting 10 weeks for it.

Comment by Earl on March 9, 2012 at 10:32pm

And how long did I wait for my APM2.0 I just got 3 days ago ???

Earl

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