Erle-brain, an open hardware Linux autopilot

Hi everyone,

Some of you might have heard about the work we did with BeaglePilot porting APM to Linux both in the hardware and software side. Work we presented at LibreCon 2014 last month. 

I am happy today to announce that after several months of improvements, flight tests and pre-series with manufacturers we are launching a commercial Linux hardware autopilot based on this work: Erle-brain.

Erle-brain is sold at 269 € and puts together a BeagleBone Black (rev. C) and the PixHawk Fire Cape in a single package that weights about 110 grams and includes 25+ sensors. The hardware designs are open to anyone that wishes to improve them.

The autopilot has a 4 GB eMMC flash memory that comes pre-flashed and provides:

  • Linux 3.8 kernel compiled with the PREEMPT option (best results we measured)
  • Debian Wheezy file system
  • ROS Hydromedusa
  • mavros ROS package
  • APM running natively in Linux (and linked with ROS through mavros)
  • preconfigured daemons for launching everything automatically, WiFi dongles support

Erle-brain has been successfully tested in copters, planes and rovers. Thanks to the contribution of many there're drivers for most of the sensor and we keep working hard to provide support for even more accessories. Here are some of the ones we've been playing with:


Expect more to come :).

Besides doing some hardware hacking we've also been putting time in documenting everything. The APM wiki is great and we love it but we wanted to do it our way so we've spent quite a bit of time creating GitBooks that should provide a walkthrough no matter which is your technical level:

 

We expect to come up with more material in the next months. Thanks everyone for your support and contributions. We will keep working hard to create amazing Linux autopilots.

Best regards,

Víctor.

Views: 13205


Developer
Comment by Randy on December 21, 2014 at 9:27pm

Nicely done Victor.  Your contributions to get ArduCopter running on Linux have been huge.  Best of luck with your product.  Certainly Linux autopilots are the future.

Comment by Víctor Mayoral on December 21, 2014 at 11:57pm

Thanks Randy, it's been a pleasure to contribute to such a great and inspiring project. Count on us for pushing forward. Cheers!

Comment by uavfans on December 22, 2014 at 12:00am

good,is open source or not

I can't find the source.

Comment by uavfans on December 22, 2014 at 12:02am

how can i use it ?Is it easy to use like pixhawk?


Moderator
Comment by Roberto Navoni on December 22, 2014 at 12:32am

Great Work Victor ... Good Luck with your new products :) 

Comment by Víctor Mayoral on December 22, 2014 at 12:47am

@uavfans of course it's open source. It uses APM and we are truly compromised with the license. Here is our branch, we are trying to contribute back as much as possible.

Regarding usability It's a Linux computer with Debian. Pretty much everything you can do with your Desktop through the command line should be equally easy in Erle-brain. Personally i find it easier to use than an STM32F4 microcontroller running NuttX (it's a personal opinion though ;)). 

As i pointed out we will keep bringing out new content/GitBooks. We are pretty open to suggestions so feel free to look through the already available material and suggest changes. A good place to start looking is here.

@Damouav thanks for your comments :)! Philip and I have been putting time into the PXF however i know nothing of  whether they plan to fund more batches. In any case, more people manufacturing this board means more support and greater user experience. I'd love to see that.

Cheers and thanks everyone for your comments.

Comment by Adrien HADJ-SALAH on December 22, 2014 at 2:52am

Hi,

It's a very interesting project, firstable because such processor is more powerful than Atmega 2560.
You said that it's possible to download sketch to produce our own board, I didn't find the link on your website ?

Thanks a lot


Moderator
Comment by Graham Dyer on December 22, 2014 at 3:55am

I think the average consumer would be very keen to know if this is a drop-in replacement for their APM2.0/.5/.6/Pixhawk or if not a drop-in then what would be required to make it work?

Comment by uavfans on December 22, 2014 at 4:46am

oh,great ,with ROS the Erle-brain is great brain and AI is comming,there are a lot things to do in drones.

Comment by uavfans on December 22, 2014 at 5:00am

@ Roberto Navoni your VR brain should also move to linux and ros 

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