Nanopilot comes up with very rich sensor suite consisting of high quality sensors, which include, 3-axis Accelerometers, 3-axis Gyroscopes, 3-axis Magnetometers, Barometer and a GPS (with micro-coax antenna connector) to provide a complete set of navigation data for mobile robotics applications. It also comes with a differential pressure sensor (optional) for air-speed measurement in aerial-robotics applications. Accurate sensor measurements are critical for mobile robotics applications. To ensure high-fidelity sensor data, 16-bit ADCs are used for sampling. Further, the Onboard temperature sensors help in implementation of temperature compensation algorithms.
MPU6000/MPU6050 digital sensor by Invensense provides the 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope functionality to Nanopilot.
Further details on this sensor are available at MPU60x0 datasheet.
Register map details for this sensor are available here: MPU60x0 Register Map
HMC5883L sensor (Honeywell) is a 3-axis magnetometer used on Nanopilot.
Further details on this sensor is available at: HMC5883L datasheet
BMP180 is the sensor used on Nanopilot for static pressure sensing.
Further details on this sensor is available at: BMP180 datasheet
Max-6Q GPS receiver from UBLOX is used on Nanopilot. This is a very compact and high quality GPS receiver with a max data-rate of 5 Hz. A micro co-ax antenna port is provided on Nanopilot to connect an active antenna to the GPS.
Further details of this device is available at: Max-6Q datasheet
MS4515 differential pressure transducer is used on Nanopilot.
Further details of the sensor is available at : MS4515 datasheet
Nanopilot makes used of the cutting-edge 32-bit Cortex M4 processor that runs at up to 168 MHz. It supports full set of DSP instructions and features a Floating Point Unit (FPU) for application that need extremely fast number crunching. Besides these, NavStik comes ready with a huge 1024 kB program memory, and 192 kB of SRAM.
What that means is, if you are still considering using an Arduino or another 8/16 bit processor for your project, think again! Nanopilot is a few generations ahead of those.
Here is a quick summary of what STM32F4 has to offer:
Complete architecture details of Nanopilot are available online. A set of drivers and sample applications illustrating use of powerful features offered by Nanopilot, based on Real-Time Operation System, is also available in open-source.
Users can easily develop powerful applications based on the sample code and drivers provided. It is also easy to port existing applications to run on Nanopilot. Of course, you would notice a significant performance improvement once you start using Nanopilot!
The complete software tool-chain (including, cross-compilers and debuggers) is available in open-source. All these tools have been tested to work in all popular operating environments, including, Windows, Linux and Mac. So, say good-bye to those expensive, proprietary tools that you were forced to use, earlier!
Nanopilot offers complete JTAG debugging support to assist in faster and efficient development of complex applications. Using the IvyGS add-on board, users can make use of completely open-source tool-chain for JTAG debugging (openOCD).
IvyGS: Ground Station and Debug Board
This is one of the smallest and lowest cost JTAG debuggers available. It also acts as a ground station with telemetry connection (telemetry module can be connected to UART on IvyGS) to NavStik. Besides these, IvyGS provides one console connection each for NavStik and Gumstix Overo® that are extremely useful during development and debugging. To enable the JTAG and console features, IvyGS can to be connected to Nanopilot using the provided debug cable.
One of the USB ports (available on all interface boards) can be used to upload firmware on NavStik in DFU mode. This port can also be used to power Nanopilot during development.
Nanopilot comes with a huge 16-Mb Flash Memory for storing all the configuration, calibration and other platform specific data in non-volatile memory. This helps in separation of the platform-specific data from the rest of firmware, for better portability of user applications across hardware. It also helps in freeing up the precious processor flash of platform-specific data.
All interface boards for Nanopilot provide a slot for micro-SD card for data-logging.
Nanopilot is built with focus on modularity. It offers a pair of connectors on either side to enhance its capabilities and make it suitable for the different user applications. This results in a truly flexible module, suitable for a wide range of applications, without compromising its power or compact size.
Nanopilot provides a large number of interfacing ports for connecting up to 12 PWM devices (in/out reconfigurable) in standard mode, along with I2C, SPI, UART and USB ports. Based on requirements, user can select an appropriate interface board that exposes the right number and type of ports.
Most interface boards provide dedicated ports for connection to Spektrum Satellite Receivers and Telemetry ports (for connecting Zigbee or similar modules).
IvyPRO interface board has circuitry for measuring battery voltage and current consumption during operation. This data is valuable for continuous estimation of battery health. Nanopilot incorporates digital power switching for various peripheral blocks, which, along with voltage/current data, can be used for active power management, and power profiling of components.
Most interface boards feature auto power switching between USB and battery power sources, making it very convenient to use. Further, IvyPRO interface board incorporates a super-efficient DC-DC convertor, that provides a wide operating voltage range, while maintaining high level of power efficiency.
Suitable short-circuit protection (resettable fuses) and protection against Electro-Static Discharge (ESD) is incorporated in each interface board to make Nanopilot robust against failures during handling.
Nanopilot is world’s smallest and lightest module available with all the features described above. It is barely the size of a regular USB flash-drive and weighs just about 4 grams! NavStik (with available interface boards) makes it possible to implement a complete MAV autopilot in about 10 grams.
Nanopilot with IvyPRO Interface board and Gumstix Overo® COM