Emlid have been working on a raspberry pi sensor shield that will allow you to use the board as an autopilot! Plans are to port the APM codebase to the platform. They call thier board Navio, and because its got the power or the raspberri pi behind it, it gives you the options to use it for digital streaming video via 3g or wifi. Given the extra processing power it might also be possible to run RTK GPS (real time kinematic GPS) to give super precise positional information! Also depending where you are you could also stream the RTK corrections over GPS via internet if available so you dont always need a second GPS receiver on the ground.
Navio Autopilot Specifications
Here are the specs for the Navio board, given that this is just the prototype I imagine some things will change.
- MS5611 barometric pressure sensor
- MPU9150 (we’ll be using MPU9150 in next batches) 3-axis gyro, accelerometer and magnetometer.
- ADS1115 16-bit ADC
- PCA9685 PWM extender to control servos
- u-blox NEO6T GPS module with raw data on SPI, we saved the only UART on raspberry for Xbee or different telemetry.
- 13 servo connectors
- Pixhawk compatible UART, I2C and SPI connectors
- RGB LED – just because we love them
Overall I think its a great platform and idea and am looking forward to seeing this project progress as you can never have enough autopilot platforms! You can read more and folow thier updates on thier blog/website
What about Pixhawk Fire Cape
A coupe weeks ago I mentioned that the pixhawk fire cape will be released at some point in the future which is effectively the same as the Navio, but for the beaglebone black, another easy to use linux board. But in my opinion given that the beaglebone black comes with a much faster processor, approximately 2x faster than raspberry pi when the beaglebone is clocked down to the same speed as the raspberrry pi. However the rasperry pi does include an integrated graphics core which can possibly used for some GPU processing (not sure about this) I personally think that it will make a better candidate for a 'powerfull' autopilot platform. But either way, both will make great platforms for those looking to develop something abit more complex!