Releasing NavStik, a Micro Navigation and Control Module

3689479390?profile=originalWe are glad to announce the release of a micro navigation and control module to serve as an autopilot for UAVs/MAVs. NavStik is one of the smallest and most powerful such platforms available with open-source RTOS based software/drivers that can be used for a variety of applications related to mobile robotics.

This module is intended for use by researchers and hobbyists. All the firmware and drivers are available in open-source to help users start building their applications, quickly.

Key features of this module are:

  • 3-axis Accelerometer
  • 3-axis Gyroscope
  • 3-axis Magnetometer
  • Barometer (Static Pressure Sensor)
  • GPS
  • Temperature Sensors for Temperature Compensation of Sensor Data
  • Cortex M4 Based Microcontroller (STM32F4: 32 bit, 168 MHz)
  • Onboard SPI Flash with 16 Mb Memory
  • Connectors for Interface Board (required for power and interface to external world)
  • Connectors for Gumstix Overo® (optional - available from Gumstix; for power intensive applications)
  • Connector for GPS Antenna (optional; required for GPS applications)
  • Differential Pressure Sensor (optional; for air-speed estimation)
  • Power Regulators and Switches (for programatically controlling power to subsections)

Interface board (IvyPRO) provides following additional features:

  • 12 PWM channels: In/Out Reconfigurable
  • Micro-SD Card Support
  • Telemetry Port (UART)
  • 2 Full-Speed USB Ports (one can be used for firmware upload)
  • Port for Spektrum Receiver (UART)
  • Gumstix Overo® UART and USB (2 nos) ports
  • Debug Port (for connection to IvyGS for JTAG debugging and console)
  • Onboard current measurement
  • Battery voltage monitor
  • Efficient DC-DC converter for wide input voltage range (4.5 V - 14 V)
  • Automatic power switching between USB and Battery
  • ESD and short-circuit protection

The ground-station board (IvyGS) connects to the interface board using the debug cable, and provides these functions:

  • JTAG debugging
  • NavStik console
  • Overo® console
  • Telemetry port for GCS (UART)

A suitable interface board may be selected based on the application. A debugging (JTAG) and ground-control-station board (with telemetry interface and console) is also available. For more details please checkout the community portal: Limited boards are now available and can be ordered from the NavStik store:

We look forward to feedback from the research and hobbyist community on NavStik and how would they want it to evolve. Please do leave your comments below or write to us at

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  • @Aleksey: Thank you for pointing out an interesting piece of hardware. We understand that the market is flooded with options for basic UAV applications. For many such applications, maybe the features offered by these boards will suffice. However, NavStik has been designed for applications demanding highest performance in smallest size with modular design. Along with the main-board, NavStik also offers a range of interface boards (each for a different requirement) and a GCS/debug board.

    For example, looking at the board that you have pointed out, we see that NavStik offers the following extra features:

    • On-board high quality GPS (Ublox)
    • Plug-in support for Gumstix Overo
    • High-quality differential pressure sensor available as option (plug-in)
    • Higher resolution accelerometers (16bit vs 14bit)
    • Separate configuration data memory (16Mb SPI-Flash)
    • Software-controlled power-switching for different subsections (for reset/power-optimization)
    • 33% smaller size, with all of above. I am, of course, not counting the interface board :-)
    • Modular design with 3 ready options for interface boards
    • Optional compact GCS hardware available (JTAG + console + telemetry)
    • micro-USB port for direct firmware upload (via interface board)
    • Advanced power management (via interface board)
    • Wide input-voltage (via interface board)
    • uSD card support for data-logging (via interface board)
    • Several ports (2 UART, 2 USB, I2C, SPI) available for interfacing with other hardware (via interface board)

    So, for serious automation applications that need a powerful, clean, compact & modular system, NavStik does not seem to have a match.

    Users can pick a system that best meets the requirements of their application.

  • @Joe: ST-Link/Discovery or other JTAG debuggers certainly provide same debugging features. But, these do not offer other functions, i.e., console access (2 consoles, one each for NavStik and Overo, for use during development), and GCS Telemetry interface. So, you will need more hardware to help you with those. NavStik (IvyGS) provides a very clean and compact solution for all these functions, that are required for any development program.

    We provide drivers and base-code for ChibiOS RTOS.

  • IMHO, This board is too expensive. For example, look at this board Almost same hardware and 2x cheaper (with additional GPS module)...

  • Thanks for the clarification. I think most guys are using ST-Link/Discovery or Black magic probe for debug.

    I looked again at your website. Which RTOS are you using?

  • Hello Veikko,

    No, there is no application specific code bundled with NavStik. It comes with drivers for all sensors/interfaces to help users integrate/build their own applications (any advanced mobile robotics application, including UAVs/MAVs). There are now several good open-source GCS codes available. Users may integrate an existing code or develop fresh code, depending on their requirements.
  • @Joe: Thanks for your comments. We will be uploading software on github and will provide all the details within the next few days. Each of the boards you have listed has a slightly different design and has been optimized for a different set of parameters. NavStik is about power (F4 + Overo), size (smallest, lightest board available) and modular design (three ready options for interface boards, or design your own). NavStik also offers a ground-station board that provides JTAG debugging, console (NavStik and Overo consoles), and telemetry functions.

    @Will: GPS is on-board. It only needs an external antenna (patch antenna) that is available as an option. There are a variety of GPS antenna available in the market (different type, weight, size, gain). Depending on the application, the user may either pick the one available on the NavStik store or use another one from a different source. Based on user feedback, we might carry a few other GPS antenna options on our store, in future.

  • Well If this is there first stab at it, and it's a small maker-style buisness the Price isn't bad. I mean once youve been doing it for awhile you make better connections, better places to source part's....ETC. But I have don't know much (anything) them.

    1 thing I don't understand is the requirement for an external gps, when there seems to be one already on-board.

  • I went to your website but could not find any information about your software. Which RTOS is used? What is your github id?

    I think this project is interesting but perhaps a little late to the F4 party, since there is also the option of PX4, Autoquad, Roberto's board, etc.

    But the Overo option might be interesting for some.

  • Hello

    There is a cheaper gadget on the market.

    look at

    The combination of the modul called Seraphim and Forebrain will not cost this much. But the adwantage for me ... the IMU is seperated from the mainboard. And it is only a little bigger.


  • @Curt: Forgot to mention, IvyPRO takes care of all voltage conversions (1.8V logic level of Overo and 3.3V logic level of NavStik) required for communication. IvyGS also does necessary conversions to enable Overo console on the PC (via IvyGS's USB port).

    I hope, I did not end up confusing you. We will add more diagram and videos to explain things better.

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