pxIMU MAV Autopilot Poll

Interested in getting one of the smallest, low-cost, high-power miniature IMU/Autopilots or a Linux onboard computer baseboard? Then please read on, it only takes about 5 minutes. If you participate, you can influence the design of our autopilot hardware and make sure it suits your needs.

We're currently getting the pxIMU: Autopilot and IMU [ http://pixhawk.ethz.ch/electronics/imu ] ready for the MAV community, but before we make the hardware available, we'd like to hear from the community where we could improve.

This page consists of five short sections:

  1. A summary on pxIMU
  2. A summary on additional electronics that might be relevant for you (e.g. Linux onboard computer boards)
  3. An example for a fixed wing setup (and the difference to a quadrotor setup)
  4. The poll on your preferences
  5. Mailing List and Discussion to give feedback

pxIMU Autopilot and Inertial Measurement Unit Board

Please watch this short video for a quick overview of the unit. Please note that the autonomous flight in the video requires not only the IMU, but also an onboard processing unit like the pxCOMEx and at least one camera. GPS based or manual flight is of course possible using just the IMU.

[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXyP-ybQShQ ]

pxIMU Autopilot Details

[ http://pixhawk.ethz.ch/electronics/imu ]

Additional PIXHAWK Electronics

Quadrotor setup

All you need for a quadrotor are the following parts:

Which makes pxIMU the smallest quadrotor solution currently available (think of a mini-quadrotor for indoor flight) and, as it combines the functions of multiple boards in other projects, also relatively cheap.

Fixed-Wing setup

The image on the right shows the pxIMU Autopilot / Inertial measurement unit in a typical fixed-wing setup. One of the questions below asks wether you would prefer to merge these two boards into one. For flying a quadrotor no extra board would be needed, as the PPM from the remote can be directly fed in and the I2C signal for the motor controllers is directly sent from the IMU.

Please note the USB cable on the pxIMU. It is only for flashing the device over USB and not used in flight. Flashing over serial is also possible.

Poll Questions

Please fill out the poll below, it will significantly help to improve the module. Please also use the discussion field on the bottom of the page to give additonal hints/comments.

(Multiple Answers) What type(s) of MAV would you use the IMU on? Airplane
Coaxial Helicopter
Water vehicle
Underwater vehicle
Ground vehicle
Other (please use the discussion field below to indicate which)

(Multiple Answers) What diameter(s) would your airplane have (incl. rotortips)? 7-17 cm (2.75-6.7 inch, e.g. mini coaxial)
17-34 cm (6.7-13.4 inch, e.g. standard coaxial)
34-55 cm (13.4-21.65 inch, e.g. large coaxial/quad)
55-90 cm (21.65-35.4 inch, e.g. large quadrotor)
90-137 cm (35.4-54.0 inch, e.g. Multiplex Easystar)
137-200 cm (54.0-79.0 inch, e.g. larger Glider)
200-xx cm (79.0-xx inch)

(Multiple Answers) What kind of environment(s) are you flying in? Outdoors

(Multiple Answers) What drives your interest in the field? Researcher at a University/Research facility
Enthusiast working in his spare time
Industry engineer working on a product

Where are you based? US/Americas
Middle East

Would you like to have a 6-16V power supply input, even if the size increases and the board weight doubles from 8 to 16g and you could power the board from another source, e.g. the BEC of your motor controller? Yes, because the wide range supply is crucial for my application (e.g. no BEC present)
Yes, because I don not care too much about size and weight and it makes sense
No, because I use the 5V BEC of my motor controller to power IMU, receiver and servos
No, because my application requires maximum miniaturization

Would you need a 5V power supply output? (3.3V/250 mA is already present) No, I have a BEC (or I don not need 5V onboard)
Yes, I need 200 mA (e.g. one servo and RC receiver)
Yes, I need 300 mA (e.g. three servos)
Yes, I need 500 mA (e.g. one camera transmitter or five servos)
Yes, I need 800 mA (e.g. camera and servos)
Yes, I need 1200 mA (safe value for 5-7 servos and a camera)
Yes, I need at least 2000 mA

How many servo outputs should be available directly on the IMU? (2-3g additional weight) 0, I prefer a breakout board for servo output (currently pxPower)
2 or more
3 or more
4 or more
5 or more
6 or more
7 or more

(Multiple Answers) Which peripheral(s) do you want to connect? Differential Pressure sensor (air/windspeed)
GPS module
Radio Modem (Digi XBee, Lairdtech LT2510, etc.)
Onboard Computer (ARM Cortex-A8, Intel Core 2 DUO, etc.)
Infrared/Ultrasound distance sensors
Other, please use the comment field below to indicate what type

(Multiple Answers) Which PIXHAWK Board would you like to use in addition? pxPower (PCB only, $15, high-output power supply for pxOvero, video cameras, etc.)
pxOvero (PCB only, $20, ARM Cortex-A8 baseboard for Gumstix Overo)
pxCOMex ($649, COMExpress micro interface/baseboard without CPU, needs a computer-on-module (e.g. from Kontron))
pxFTDIx4 (PCB only, $9, USB-UART Adapter x4)

How would you like to get the hardware? Individual assembled boards
Full kit with everything in it (wires, etc.)
Individual assembled boards and unpopulated PCBs
Only unpopulated PCBs, I do the assembly myself

Would you consider to participate as a partner/customer in a non-profit community batch production? Costs are USD 350-430 per IMU for a smaller batch. Please note that this amount is the raw technical production costs for 30 units and cannot be freely reduced, except if the quantity is increased dramatically (so ask your friends!). Yes
Only if the unit costs less than $420 / EUR 318
Only if the unit costs less than $400 / EUR 302
Only if the unit costs less than $380 / EUR 287
Only if the unit costs less than $360 / EUR 272
Only if the unit costs less than $340 / EUR 257
Only if the unit costs less than $320 / EUR 242
Only if the unit costs less than $300 / EUR 227
Only if the unit costs less than $280 / EUR 212
Only if the unit costs less than $250 / EUR 190
Only if the unit costs less than $210 / EUR 159

(Multiple Answers) What future features would you consider important? 200 MHz processor speed
Hardware floating point unit
12 bit ADC
More UARTs


Mailing List and Discussion

We like to get feedback! Please join the PIXHAWK mailing list/Google group and/or leave a comment on this page. Do you own/work in an electronics company and you think that you can make a better/cheaper offer for the production? Contact us! We'd like to offer the community the best price we can.

[ http://groups.google.com/group/pixhawk ]

Last modified: 2010/08/23 21:55

Copyright 2010 http://pixhawk.ethz.ch/poll