OpenWrt UAV platform

My idea is to use OpenWrt + Arduino for a futureproof/scalable UAV patform. I'm planning to do some testing in the spring with the basic Fonera router flashed with OpenWrt Kamikaze 8.09.This setup however doesn't have USB-ports that would enable live streaming webcam, 3G modems and in-flight high quality images through gphoto2 and a digital camera. I'm waiting to see how much the just finalized Fonera 2.0 with USB costs, but I'll still probably go with the Ubiquiti RouterStation (only about 60$).Additionally I just have to build a plane following servo mount for my cantenna wlan antenna to be used in the basestation :) Share your thoughts, and other possibilities (ie. VIA pico-ITX etc.)
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  • I happen to come along this site and find your work interesting. If it's any help I've taken the WL-500W ASUS router and installed an Atheros based card. I have everything with wireless working, can run any webcam and even use mjpg_streamer on the two usb ports. It has 8mb flash, 240+mhz process and 32mb ram. I even installed the program motion and everything works with little to no cpu usage. Let me know what I can do to get up to speed on this UAV and DIY Drone. I would love to build something.
  • Thanks for the info xemone.

    The Robin Z510 Nano COM Express 1 looks like a nice small powerfull platform. I'll look into it.

    Even though routerstation etc. are bigger and hevier than for example gumstix, I like them because they are relatively easy to cofigure and develop for. Meaning I don't get good wibes from gumstix development :)

    One interesting option is Beagleboard. Personally I don't know what the advanced GPU could be used for, but someone might be able to do object detecting and tracking with quadrocopters etc. - community supported open hardware computers for making
  • I think the gumstix overo platform is a great option. A pico ITX board would be better but it'll require a larger battery pack just to power the board itself.

    Another board is this one here;

    And this one based on the Intel Atom CPU;

    The prices are ok for what you get.

    A wireless adapter like the SR71 USB could work too, though a zigbee module is better for control, data download and upload (waypoints, GPS location et.c)
  • If UAV jobs ever come to Silicon Valley, it going to be something involving network routers.
  • My main concern with Fonera/Asus/etc. would be the limited amount of flash and ram, and the boards are often quite big (not fonera though) to fit inside a small plane. But the 4MB/16MB often found on those routers should be enough for quite a complex UAV controller. Also my understaning is that many UVC webcams have mjpeg encoding build in, so the cpu in the OpenWrt box doesn't have to do anything else than pass on the data.

    I've read through some router rc projects. They seem quite interesting. The only thing I really haven't been thinking about is the base station software. But luckily there's quite a few open source projects that can be further developed and used. uavplayground for example.
  • I have integrated OpenWRT on the WiFi router with Arduino and RC car (just a toy $40 truck). Also added bunch of push button sensors to rc truck (easy with Arduino) and usb camera to router (live picture streamed over wifi to my comp). I can control the car over custom web interface through web browser (go fwd, back , left and right) or switch to autonomous mode and let the car drive itself based on input from "push button" sensors (nothing terribly sophisticated just fun to watch). I also wrote another interface which uses LabVIEW as well. I am / was planning to write more sophisticated "nav" system based on vision and more sophisticated ground station as practice for UAV stuff. I am not sure if I'll finish that or just start chugging at UAV...It's an interesting project to get your feet "wet" before start flying autonomously. When I have a little more time I'll write it up as well.
  • Cool idea. I've been pondering something similar for some time. It's probably about the cheapest way to get wifi into a UAV. You might try looking into ASUS routers. I picked up WL-520GU for $25 after rebate or so, and it can be flashed with OpenWrt and has a single USB port built in. It's pretty easy to get that USB port working with a printer or external harddrive... but something like a webcam would probably require some major coding to integrate the drivers...and I'm not even sure it has the power for something like that.

    I'll be interested to see if you can get OpenWRT to do some new tricks =)
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