Intel® Aero Ready-to-Fly UAV

Intel Aero RTF UAV Quad Drone
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Intel® Aero Ready-to-Fly UAV

Yesterday (Tuesday, 16 Aug 2016) Intel announced a new product, the Intel Aero RTF drone.

Interestingly Intel chose to announce it on their developer forum rather than through the regualar drone news outlets.

So let’s take a look at the Aero and the likely reasons why they chose to announce it this way.

Intel tells us that this quadcopter development platform is a fully assembled, ready-to-fly, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

It has been built around the Intel® Aero Compute Board. A small (the size of a playing card), lightweight board, especially developed for UAVs.

The Intel® Aero Compute Board runs Linux, supports multiple cameras, (ncluding the RealSense cameras) and supports dual band 802.11 Wi-Fi. It also has ample storage abilities. All this confirms that Intel have done their homework before making this board and that they’ve delivered a good product for any quadcopter.

Rather than market this drone to “regular” consumer Intel has chosen to aim it at developers, researchers, and quadcopter enthusiasts instead. This is probably the main reason we haven’t seen any big announcements about this quadcopter on any of the  major drone blogs yet, even though I have seen it on some technoglogy websites today.

I suspect that one of the reasons they have chosen this way of announcing it is to avoid competition with the Yuneec Typhoon H Pro. After all, Intel has an equity investment in Yuneec so it makes no sense to go head-to-head  with it.

Aside from that, this part of the market (developer/researcher/serious tinkering enthusiast) is a bit like a neglected stepchild. Just this might make it an interesting market segment for Intel, a segment with hardly any competition.

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But both these reasons are just speculations on my side and Intel could have other reasons that they just haven’t announced yet.

What do we know about this RTF quad from Intel?

  • Intel Aero Compute Board
  • Equipped with Intel® RealSense™ technology (Vision Accessory Kit for Aero)
  • Runs on open-source Linux* operating system
  • Pre-programmed flight controller with Dronecode PX4* software
  • Support for AirMap* SDK for airspace services
  • Available Q4 2016

The Intel Aero RTF drone looks like a cool kit for anybody interested in doing more with quadcopters than just flying them. And as it comes with Intel RealSense that means you’ll get a state of the art quadcopter to start your development with. A kit with better obstacle avoidance that is the same as can be found in the Yuneec Typhoon H Pro and that is better than the obstacle avoidance found in the DJI Phantom 4.

Below you’ll find the specs for both the Aero Compute Board as well as the Vision Accessory Kit as well as some info about Dronecode PX4 and Airmap.

Unfortunately this is all the information I currently have on the Aero but if you subscribe to the newsletter I’ll let you know when I receive more information.

The Intel® Aero Compute Board

This is UAV developer kit. It’s powered by a quad-core Intel® Atom™ processor and it’s put on the market for developers, researchers, and quadcopter enthusiasts.

Specifications:

Operating System Linux* 4.4.3-yocto-standard OS powered with Yocto Project* 2.1 (Krogoth)
Processor Intel® Atom™ x7-Z8700 Processor

2.4 GHz burst, quad core, 2M cache, 64 bit

Display 1 micro HDMI 1.4b
USB 1 USB 3.0 On-the-Go (OTG) connector
Wi-Fi* Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260; 802.11ac, 2×2 MIMO
Memory 4 GB LPDDR3-1600
Storage Embedded 32 GB eMMC
Camera Interface MIPI* (CSI-2) 4-lanes + 1 lane connector
I/O Expansion 80 pin flexible I/O connector with expansion cable and breakout adapter:
I2C (x2), UART, SPI, CAN, 5 analog inputs,
and 25 programmable GPIOs via on-board Altera Max 10 FPGA
Storage Expansion microSD* memory card slot

M.2 connector 1 lane PCIe for SSD

Camera Expansion MIPI* CSI-2 (4 lanes + 1 lane)

Intel® RealSense™ camera (R200) with dedicated USB3.0 connector

Dimensions 88 mm × 63 mm × 20 mm (includes heatsink)
Weight 30 g board only; less than 60 g board with heatsink
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Vision Accessory Kit:

Specifications:
Depth Sensing and
Vision Camera
Intel® RealSense™ camera (R200) with extension cable
Product Datasheet
Intel® RealSense™ SDK
8 MP RGB Camera Omnivision OV8858 with FPC extension cable
Product Overview
Product Brief
VGA Camera Omnivision OV7251 with FPC extension cable
Product Overview
Product Brief

 

Dronecode PX4

Dronecode PX4 is made up from open source projects that control flight, enable mission planning, and otherwise make drone flight and advanced functionality possible. From a high level view, the Dronecode platform could be described as an application ecosystem within the various layers of the stack.

Driven by a need to address challenges faced by the UAV community, Dronecode has established itself as one of the most advanced flight control platforms available today.

AirMap SDK

Airmap is the leading provider of aeronautical data & services to unmanned aircraft, or drones. Use AirMap to access low-altitude airspace advisories, create flights, to file digital notices, manage aircraft, & more. Additionally, AirMap is the provider of airspace maps to the FAA’s Know Before You Fly Campaign.

AirMap also works collaboratively with several industry partners to power drones. Their airspace data is available in the apps by DJI and 3DRobotics.

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