Andrew Tridgell at 2016

Helicopters and rocket-planes

Andrew Tridgell held a talk at the 2016 and tells about the more crazy projects he is been working on.

The BBBmini is also mentioned in the talk :)

“ArduPilot on embedded Linux boards is now flying on a wide variety of
vehicles. In this talk I will present three very different examples of
ArduPilot based aircraft and describe the unique challenges of each.

The smallest is the tiny Parrot Bebop, which has been running Linux for
a long time but now can run ArduPilot. The ArduPilot dev team has been
working closely with Parrot on the port, and it is now flying very
nicely. I’ll give some demos at the conference.

The loudest is a 700 sized petrol helicopter, which turned out to be a
real challenge for vibration handling, and also had some interesting
issues with IMU filtering.

The craziest is the Lohan rocket plane, which aims to fly at supersonic
speeds 20km above the ground, before doing an autonomous landing at
Spaceport USA (or possibly creating a new crater in the ground nearby!).”

Linux on flying robots is really going mainstream now!

enhanced BeagleBone ahead?


There are rumours about the soon? to be released BeagleBone enhanced and it seems it will have
MPU6050 Triple Axis Accelerometer / Gyro and LPS331AP MEMS pressure sensor integrated as well as gigabit Ethernet. Good old 6050 should be replaced for a MPU9250 or so, not sure how good or Accurate the baro will be.

It will have double the amount of ram and will have two additional USB ports available. The makers are preparing for a crowdfunding campaign I heard.

I really like the extra USB and fast Ethernet. More ram is always welcome.

Read more about the BBE here.

I guess it will take off depending on availability and pricing.

Can’t wait for more details..

DIY Linux autopilot – cool for cats… and geeks


I want to share with you the tremendous fun I’m having with the BBBmini DIY ArduPilot project, which I discovered during the summer. Hopefully, I can demonstrate what a sexy DIY Linux Autopilot for around 100 bucks looks like and convince you why Linux autopilots are cooler than a cat playing the piano.

For some background, Mirko Denecke, who designed the BBBmini, wrote an introductory blog post on his DIY ArduPilot Cape here, and about further enhancements here.

Since Mirko released rev1.4 into the wild as Open Hardware, there’s been a BBBmini usergroup down at DIY Drones, so that’s a good place to see what’s happening with the technology.

Rekindled enthusiasm

Being a Linux autopilot enthusiast, I naturally had a BeagleBone Black lying around and so was immediately attracted to this project. While building and getting the BBBmini into the air, I quickly realized that it was just the right kind of project I needed to rekindle my enthusiasm.

DIY Linux autopilots: What’s the attraction?

I really love the idea of flying Linux autopilots and must admit I’ve been hooked since I saw the first talks Andrew Tridgell and others gave on the topic, the early rumors about PXF, and the first boards like NavIO and  Erlebrain and so forth. I can see a bright future in this field, with the kind of  collaborative community effort such as that down at DIY Drones – which drives the technology forward.

After finally joining the Linux autopilot club, I had a kind of epiphany about how it opens a huge door to the opportunity of getting new ideas integrated much more easily thanks to the power of open innovation. The underlying Linux offers a sense of comfort and massive gains in usability.

Getting more out of your Autopilot

For example, I recently decided to configure my quad to log into different folders each day and rsync my log files to my NAS running samba at startup. That way I can archive them for later use as well and delete old logs when the SD cards becomes full. So, I should be find logs more easily and create a permanent archive, which was the initial reason for the set-up. This was all done with a few very basic modifications and open source tools / software made available by developers for public use.

Build your own DIY Linux autopilot

So, if you too like getting hands-on and want to make your own DIY Linux autopilot, now is the time to get your feet wet.

We’re all keen to see what you’ll come up with. For example, Mirko did a self-balancing robot based on the BBBmini and ArduPilot software, and I have something in the pipeline to fill the long winter nights.

We are working on improving the BBBmini experience and since Mirko recently added dual-MPU9250 support we are now flying with two MPU9250’s. We also have a few ideas for extra add-ons.

I have put together a BBBmini DIY Kit to simplify the process of getting started, and if you are interested in buying a kit or just a PCB please send me a PM or go here.

Here is a short video of me flying the bbbmini just for fun.

The full project is available on GitHub and we invite interested users to contribute to the further development of the project.

Happy flying.

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How Green Is Your Linux ArduPilot?


I recently discovered the very good looking BeagleBone Green (BBG) from seedstudio and i am thinking about buying one for another BBBmini build. I can tell you already that it will not only fly the copter or drive the rover but ….

They have removed the HDMI Port and power connector which probably reduces the weight. Pretty nice finish as far i can tell from the pictures, should look awesome with an Green BBBmini PCB on top i think.

There are additional connectors for I2C and UART0 for external components and debug purposes. One just needs to remember to buy the cables as well because they use a proprietary connector called “Grove”.

In Germany EXPtech is selling them here and here and it is around 10-15 bucks cheaper than the original BeagleBone Black.

Maybe as early Christmas present for myself i can justify to buy it right now or maybe should i ask my Finanzminister first ;)