Companion computer and drone hardware

Hello everyone,

From your experience, What’s the best companion computer, Intel NUC, UP core, Raspberry pi or Jetson Nano,
what’s the commandeered operating system for the Companion computer?
also what port/cable does it use to connect to the flight controller? telem to Usb or something like that? any link to a cable I can use would help

Lastly is the flight controller the same as the autopilot? CUAV V5+ Autopilot vs Pixhawk 4 for example

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I’d researching to find out more about this too. There are so many companion computers and software packages for them. It’s always hard to judge by reading specifications and capabilities. I’d like to hear more from people who have used them.

Hi, I am a researcher working with drones since many years now (8) and I would suggest you the following:

  • if budget is not a problem I would go for a nvidia tx2
  • if budget is a bit more problematic I would go for a jetson nano

Remember that for both of them you would need a carrier board (I suggest the orbitty one for the tx2)

  • Instead, if you want to get the cheapest option possible there is the odroid xu4 (in my opinion now it is not anymore a good choice since the nano exist) or the raspberry (I did not have the best experience with it).

For all of them I have worked only with Ubuntu (versions between 14.04 and 20.04). I don’t have a comparison in terms of OS since I have used only ubuntu but I can tell you that if you want to integrate ROS there is not really an option: only ubuntu!

I hope this helps someone in this community.

thanks for sharing.
Is heat sink mandatory for tx2/jetson/nano?

Yes it is. Better to have a great sink than dealing with a drone falling from the sky.