Intel gives sneak peak of drone development board

At a developer conference in China last week, Intel gave a sneak peak of its forthcoming drone and robotics development boards. The drone board, called Aero, is designed to compete with Qualcomm's Snapdragon Flight board (Intel, like Qualcomm, is a member of Dronecode and the Intel team has ported to the APM code to their X86-based platforms). 

From PC World:

A major element of the developer boards is the RealSense 3D camera, which will ship with the kits and help the robots and drones navigate and avoid obstacles. The depth-sensing camera can recognize items and determine the size, shape and contours of objects. For robots, the camera provides computer vision, which is analogous to eyes in humans.

The Robotic Development Kit will be priced at $249 and will ship later this quarter. It has a credit-card-sized board from Aaeon, which is equipped with an Intel Atom x5 Z8350 CPU, an internal Intel HD 400 graphics processor, 4GB of DDR3 RAM and 32GB of storage. Other features include an HDMI slot, Gigabit ethernet, two USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port, a camera interface and an eDP (embedded DisplayPort) slot to connect a display. It also has a 40-pin GPIO (general purpose input-output) slot to hook up add-on boards that may have sensors or other components.

The kit will ship with Ubuntu Linux but will also support Windows 10 and other versions of Windows.

The Aero Platform is a “ready-to-fly developer platform,” an Intel spokesman said in an email. It has an Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor, DDR3L RAM and flash storage, and it will run a version of embedded Linux. Full details and price aren’t yet available, but it will ship in the second half of this year.

The hardware is part of Intel’s effort to diversify outside PCs into new areas. It’s also an effort to provide do-it-yourselfers with the resources to develop a wide range of gadgets, appliances, and smart home and industrial equipment.

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Comment by Nicholas Witham on April 17, 2016 at 6:11pm

So does this board need to be paired with a Pixhawk or Pixhawk 2? Or is it stand alone?

Comment by Thomas Stone on April 17, 2016 at 7:31pm



Perhaps, it is intended to work like this?

Comment by Gary McCray on April 17, 2016 at 8:09pm

Of more immediate interest might be the robotic development kit with the realsense 3D camera.

Looks like the same technologyy from the same original Company that put together the Kinect.

I tried to get one of their second generation 3D cameras but they were only interested in buyers with the potential for multiple tens of thousands of units.

Am I correct in assuming that Intel bought them and apparently has a much more benign view towards developers?

This is likely way better than the original Kinect, but if it is the same technology, it will suffer outdoors in sunlight because of the holographically twisted IR illumination that is necessary.

Definitely worth looking into this though.

Because competent 3D vision is really what we need next to make ground relative navigation feasible.


Comment by Gary McCray on April 17, 2016 at 8:29pm

Further Investigation:

Seems to show that max range for the R200 camera is only about 20 inches although other claims are out to 4 meters.

I don't think 20 inches is going to be very useful for us or for robotics.

Comment by Lucas De Marchi on April 17, 2016 at 9:30pm

Nicholas, it's standalone. Nothing will impede you to connect it to another board though.

Comment by Sergey on April 18, 2016 at 2:06am

Btw, there is currently an Atom based dev board already available:

MinnowBoard Turbot

Comment by Tiziano Fiorenzani on April 18, 2016 at 5:22am
Sounds awesome! However I still don trust a stand alone system and better rely on a distributed solution, with an autopilot and a companion pic. I didn't understand if that is the case for the Intel board too. Nevertheless I feel that the actual serial based communication between the cc and the ap is a real bottle neck and a new faster solution is needed
Comment by vorney thomas on April 18, 2016 at 5:33am


can you explain that how to mount the realsense R200 on the quadrotor or drone ?

since finding that hardware and software requirement is hard more than uavs can afford.

also how to integrate the sdk to the uav firmware? you have showed some demo about this sensor

on yuneec quadrotor, but there still has few details related to quadcopter usage.

Comment by Shawn Schaerer on April 18, 2016 at 6:53am

The up board is another great Intel based board that could be used instead.

Comment by Lucas De Marchi on April 18, 2016 at 7:14am

Sergey, yes... MinnowBoard Turbot is the public board we use for developing ardupilot. I did a recent video and demontration at ELC.


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