Some non-technical reasoning I believe in strong decouplig of the autopilot and the companion (this doesn't mean they can't live within the same box). However plug&play is a great plus, as this means that I (final user) can buy an Iris / Pixhawk / whatever and in a second moment I can add the companion as a second layer of computation, while all the underlying settings remain the same. This mantains a very attractive learning curve. In a third moment I can even switch to a more powerful companion as new needs / new supercomputers arrives. 

In this group we've been dealing with companions fore a long time. Now @Randy opened a repo called "Companion" A very big thank you  for this! I invite everyone to contribute.


  • COMMON  (this is a directory with common scripts. @Randy maybe also a simplified version of balloon fineder could fit here: ). I'll put also VPN scripts, gstreamer (@Bernt please contribute!!) I can also contribute with 4Gmetry .py scripts.
  • UBUNTU / ODROID XU4 this is what we're doing here at 4Gmetry until now.
  • UBUNTU / JETSON TK1 this is the supercomputer. As the main usage will be computer vision, I think that we should give a look at as suggested by @Bill_Bonney
  • n OS / BOARD combinations
  • PERFORMANCE this includes performance tests across the above combinations.

What do you think?

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Replies to This Discussion

Yes but now i felt in love with Zed. Because of:
1. price
2. virtual reality application
3. light and simple

USB 3.0 is perfect; the question are:
1. output format
2. precision/accuracy
3. can I turn around objects? I mean flying around a house?

I think the zed is limited not being able to cover 360 degrees, i think 4x zed cameras would be needed for true obstacle avoidance, but the computing power..... :(

Perhaps a rotating Lidar lite with more line sensing is better?.. Or maybe rotating/ servo sweep zed with imu sync.

Get an ASTEC then :-)...

Silvio, Ben,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the ZED! 

To answer your questions:

  • The ZED outputs low latency side-by-side stereo video on USB 3.0. Depth is computed on a companion computer such as Jetson TK1.
  • You can check out ZED accuracy in the videos on our Developer page.
  • While the ZED stereo camera will not match the accuracy and range of a high-end 3D LIDAR, it is perfectly suited for obstacle avoidance and 3D FPV. 

In a partner project with NVIDIA, we even used the ZED for 3D mapping on a DJI Matrice 100. You can check out the video here.

Hope this helps!

Hi Gabriel, 

Thanks for joining the forums. 

We are currently brainstorming the development of a miniaturized carrier board for the TX1 module. Ultimately, this will allow your ZED sensor to be used alongside the Pixhawk, as well as other flight controllers that are popular in this UAV community.

The carrier board discussion is primarily over here: . Any feedback you have would be greatly appreciated. 




Dear @Gabriel,
thank you for joining!
I think that this community could represent a big opportunity for ZED; here you can find the top class developers, that could develop/integrate technology that could lead sells. 

Thanks @benbojangles for introducing ZED, such a great product.

We're also extremely interested in ZED for our companion computers!

It (zed) looks good/interesting/thought broadening, potentially a combined unit for both faster point cloud visualisation (than agisoft), and more thorough coverage for obstacle avoidance than say Lidar lite.

But... if it's just for obstacle avoidance, then it's competing with Lidar lite, if it's just for 3d visualisation, then it's competing with a  Mounted camera (in my case a canon sx230) + Agisoft.....Agh! Reality bites.

btw hello Zed!

*blinks* Aliens?

I like the decoupling of boards as well- our group has had a lot of success with both apm/pixhawks talking with separate onboard computers. Also from safety side I think it makes more sense. Other computers that should be looked at are Gigabyte Brix's. They cost on order of the new Nvidia and they are Intel with beefy cpu. We use them and love them. We have used arm based cpu's in the past and not having the ability of using the same setups as you do on the desktops makes life a bit more annoying. The downside is weight but they approx 200g. Anyway something to consider if you need the additional cpu

Hello Thomas
Did you get a chance to talk to Colorado Engineering?

Sorry. I didn't get on the phone with them today. But I have been corresponding via e-mail. Hopefully, the conversation will continue tomorrow.  

If you are still interested in a more specialized carrier board (i.e., multi-synchronized camera), I would encourage you to give them a call as well. 

I just wanted to mention that I have received great service from the Volta team. Thanks a lot Silvio



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