Unmanned Systems News

The CubePilot Hardware & Software Ecosystem for UAVs

Published: 04 Jun 2021 by

HexAero and ProfiCNC, joint developers of the pioneering open-source CubePilot hardware and software ecosystem for UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and other unmanned systems, have partnered with Unmanned Systems Technology (“UST”) to demonstrate their expertise in this field. The ‘Gold’ profile highlights how CubePilot’s constantly-evolving drone autopilot solutions and accessories enable a wide range of applications for commercial and industrial UAV markets.

The Cube Orange Open source autopilotThe Cube Orange is an advanced open-source autopilot for drones and robotic vehicles. Based around an ARM Cortex M7 CPU and M3 co-processor, the compact and lightweight unit features triple-redundant temperature-stabilized and vibration-resistant IMUs (inertial measurement units). It is ideal for a wide range of unmanned systems, including fixed-wing and multirotor UAVs, UGVs (unmanned ground vehicles), USVs (unmanned surface vessels) and UUVs (unmanned underwater vehicles).

The system includes an ADS-B carrier board with an integrated uAvionix 1090 MHz receiver for enhanced situational awareness. This ADS-B functionality allows drones to receive information from commercial aircraft in the surrounding airspace, increasing safety and providing effective detect-and-avoid (DAA) capabilities.

The flight control system enables a variety of modes of operation, including waypoint following, loitering and altitude hold. It provides built-in flight logging and real-time flight data transmission, and supports the widely-used Mission Planner and QGroundControl ground control station software.

The Cube Orange autopilot can be easily connected to customised carrier boards, allowing it to support specific unmanned vehicle applications, and supports Ardupilot and PX4 open source flight controller firmware.

drone gps moduleThe Here3 is an RTK-enabled GNSS module providing high-precision positioning for drones and robotics down to centimetre-level. Based around the u-blox M8P GNSS chipset and an ARM Cortex CPU running a real-time operating system (RTOS), the lightweight module is enclosed in a dust-and water-resistant housing and features an integrated magnetometer and compass.

The compact drone GPS module has been designed around an in-house developed fully-supported software framework for enhanced reliability and extendability. The system architecture uses CAN protocol for higher data rates, noise immunity and real-time capabilities.

Drone flight controllerThe HereLink is a compact handheld drone ground controller providing smooth, low-latency HD video transmission over long distances. With a range of up to 20 km, it supports video formats of 720p at 30 fps and 1080p at 30 or 60 fps. The controller includes detachable directional and omni-directional antennas, and both an integrated GPS antenna and an interface for external antennas.

The UAV flight controller integrates a datalink unit, remote control link and video display unit into a single device. With an eight-core processor and powerful GPU, it features rapid image, video and data processing capabilities, as well as a MicroSD card slot for up to 64 GB of storage.

The HereLink is built on customized Solex and QGC Ground Control Station software, with MAVLink support for the Ardupilot and PX4 open-source autopilot platforms. It supports installation of custom and OEM Android images, allowing users to customize a range of elements such as system configuration, Android applications and boot animations. The ground controller can take advantage of Over the Air (OTA) updates via Wi-Fi, providing faster downloading and installation and reducing bandwidth usage.

The HereFlow is a drone navigation solution incorporating a time-of-flight LiDAR sensor, an optical flow camera and a six-degree-of-freedom IMU. Weighing just 1 gram, the ultra-low-SWaP board is ideal for aiding UAV precision landing as well as navigation in GNSS-denied environments such as indoor facilities, tunnels and under bridges.

The HereFlow can be conveniently installed at any node in a CAN bus, providing protection against signal noise, superior anti-interference capabilities, real-time operations and high-performance error handling.

To find out more about UAV Radio and their wireless data links for drones and robotics, please visit their profile page:
https://www.unmannedsystemstechnology.com/company/uav-radio/

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Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact