Next-generation FPGA flight controllers coming

Interesting preview of a very powerful new autopilot from Aerotenna: 

The Revolutionary SoC Flight Controller

OcPoC (Octagonal Pilot on Chip) is the SoC FPGA-based open-source flight control platform engineered to bring you greatly enhanced I/O capabilities and processing power that is unparalleled by any other platform of its class. Including the traditional sensor options for common peripherals, OcPoC also expands its input and output capabilities to include fully programmable PWM, PPM and GPIO pins to integrate with a vast number of different sensor additions. It also includes many other standardized connectors for peripherals such as GPS, CSI camera link and SD card. Drone developers can integrate various sensors and have the processing power to not only run ArduPilot but also implement real-time processing of sensor data simultaneously. OcPoC opens the door for drone development to the next level.

OcPoC-Zynq is powered by the Xilinx Zynq processor which combines the flexibility of FPGA architecture with the processing power of ARM, all in one SoC. Along with the I/O expansion, OcPoC provides increased processing power capable of achieving real-time sensor fusion and onboard data processing. This advanced system caters to both the UAV enthusiast that wants a ready-to-fly package and also to programmers and developers wanting a platform to power their ideas.


• First Xilinx SoC FPGA-based flight controller
• FPGA + ARM Cortex A9 dual-core processor
• Over 100 I/Os for sensor integration
• Video streaming and processing capabilities
• Enhanced GPS and IMU sensor packages
• PX4 and APM compatible (
• Open-source hardware and software platform

Views: 2406

Comment by Auturgy on November 8, 2016 at 1:16am
The aerotenna link mentions apm, but not px4, same for their github repo.
Chris - DOES (not 'could') this run px4?
Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on November 8, 2016 at 5:28am

Woah, did Chris change the wording in the original article to include PX4?   That seems sort of... wrong?

I see the originator is maintaining a fork of APM so customers can compile and upload.  But how are they supposed to do the same for PX4?  I guess they would be on their own to port the software?

Comment by Francisco Ferreira on November 8, 2016 at 8:34am

Chris' copy-paste is probably broken, I think he has a virus in his PC that insert PX4 everywhere it sees APM.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on November 8, 2016 at 8:35am

I'm advising them. When the product ships, PX4 support will be there. 

Comment by Hongshu Qian on November 8, 2016 at 9:03am

We recently started working on PX4 compatibility. The APM porting work is already done and in our repo as Auturgy mentioned. The goal for OcPoC is to introduce a FPGA SoC-based flight control platform that can integrate with popular open flight stacks.

Comment by Bart Slinger on November 8, 2016 at 9:39am

Which part of the flight controller is actually running on the FPGA? And how much does it save? Because at the moment I believe the main limitation is memory and not CPU time.

Comment by Francisco Ferreira on November 8, 2016 at 11:23am

So it still isn't compatible with PX4 but Chris is already advertising it is.

@Hongshu Qian

Will the shipping be delayed if PX4 support isn't ready in time? Both the OcPoC™ with Altera Cyclone® mini SoC Flight Controller and the OcPoC™ with Xilinx Zynq® mini SoC Flight Controller appear as being in stock. Are they shipping yet? Do they have PX4 support already?

Also, will you open pull requests to bring support for these boards to upstream or will you just leave it in your own repository?

Comment by Jerry Giant on November 8, 2016 at 12:10pm

have seen this website for a while, but what's in the FPGA logic is the key selling point. Once a Japanese KS'ed a nano drone with flow positioning is failed, based on Zynq.

I am helping indie developers doing hardware prototyping, setereo vision depth sensing will be built into FPGA logic for opencv depth map. i hope this project will be open enough to implement open IP and software stack.

Comment by Patrick Poirier on November 8, 2016 at 8:05pm
So basically it is running APM on the Zynq (or Altera cyclone) dual core Arm A9 and added the PPM & PWM FPGA library based on the ZYBopilot code developped 2 years ago?
Comment by Olivier on November 8, 2016 at 11:42pm

Why change "APM compatible (" from the original source to "PX4 and APM compatible (" .

Deliberately misleading, and dishonest, since APM was booted out of DroneCode.



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