First Flight: Intel Realsense D435 on Jetson TX2 UAV


I have just posted the latest in a series of posts outlining a further step in the evolution of the GroundHog hexacopter into a multi-role UAV.  It is based on a Pixhawk flight controller with a Jetson TX2 companion computer.  It has now been fitted with an Intel RealSense D435 depthcam and this weekend I was able to take it out for a flight test.

The video from the flight test is available on YouTube and as usual my full post is on my blog

The GroundHog with the Jetson TX2 development board and D435....


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  • I'll look into it.  Thanks for the video link!


  • I think they all have the laser projection, but that's only really useful indoors or at night outdoors (have you tried outdoors in the evening/night?  would be fascinating if you get a result!) 

    This is interesting:

  • The range is superior to both the R200 and the ZR300.  But the ZR may be better at close-up as it has laser projection as well.  The ZR also has it's own IMU.    I am optimistic that the D435 can be used to support trajectory planning and obstacle avoidance in the range up to 20m or so, but need to get the sky issue sorted to make this happen.

    The two people are me and my son, who was piloting.  Yes, you make a good point on IR reflectivity and again it's something worth looking into.  The plan is to couple the depth sensing with object detection from the main camera and probably also a separate rangefinder to 'triple check' what the drone is looking at a how far it is away.  

  • Interesting, the outdoor performance is way, way better than the R200 so that's positive!  Interesting to see how at the end of the video the two people in the field seemed almost invisible in the depth map yet the copter flying around was quite visible - different near IR reflectivity?

  • I have not tried all the configurations options yet, but I am confident the issue with the sky can be mitigated.

    The flashlight is just my high intensity bike torch so that I can see the orientation of the UAV at distance!  However, there is some guidance around further IR illumination in the paper linked from my blog, I recall.

  • Thanks for sharing, very cool!

    Did you try to set the Realsense in "high accuracy" mode to see if the sky part would look better?

    Also, is that an IR flashlight on the drone?

  • That would leave the TeraRanger free to mount on a directional gimbal. It could then be 'pointed' at specific targets to identify range.  I think would make better use of the superior performance of the TeraRanger.  It's also clear to me that most sensed data needs to be verified independently, and this approach could form part of that approach... verifying distance to nearby objects, or ranging ahead to ensure the flight trajectory is clear (as an addition to the depthcam).

  • Yes, the Teraranger is just used for altitude control.  I have also found the Benewake TFMini to be a good and much less expensive replacement.

  • Thanks for an interesting write up! Would you care to share what you are using TeraRanger One for? Height control?

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