Intel® Aero Platform For UAVs
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Other Stuff You Need...


The documentation for the "ready to fly" drone says that all you need is a battery, which I guess is true if you never want to update the software or do anything other than lift off. Although some of you probably already have this figured out, I thought I would give a heads-up to anyone who hasn't received the device that there are a handful of other things you may need to acquire unless you are lucky enough to have them lying around.

1) Micro (not mini...micro) HDMI cable to attach a monitor.

2) Powered USB 3.0 hub but with a USB 3 micro connection. Most likely you will need one of these even if you have a hub laying around:

3) Laptop with enough resources to run a VM so you can run an old version of Ubuntu.

What isn't quite clear is if you need a some kind of wifi dongle with a high gain antenna of some sort to keep in contact with the drone in the air(?)


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Community Manager

Hi John,



Thanks for your interest in the Intel Aero Platform.



We appreciate the information provided, and as you have mentioned above, we will need to accomplish some requirements in order to flash the Intel Aero RTF and work with the board, the hardware prerequisites are here: flash-intel-aero-image Quickstart Guide, however, I would like to investigate a little bit more regarding your WIFI inquiry, we'll appreciate your patience during the meantime.





-Yermi A.



Well yes and no. Yes the quick start does talk about the powered hub however it doesn't mention that the connector needed to connect to the USB port is not common and will almost certainly require the purchase of an adapter, special cable or something. No USB hub that I could find had that kind of output connection.

The Aero designer could have used a regular USB, a micro, a mini but instead chose to use a USB 3 micro which is only common on Samsung phones. You could have at least provided a tested adapter for a more common connection type.

I bought an adapter to try and get it to work and it still isn't working...even with just a dumb keyboard. I am going to go off to the computer store and find a different cable/adapter to try and if that doesn't work this thing is coming back.

And BTW folks purchasing the drone don't see the developer quick start. They see the "ready to fly..only a battery needed." Well aside from the battery, the charging supply and the charger there is also a 2nd list of items some of which we don't even know yet. It may be ready to fly (although still waiting for a report of somebody that actually got it higher than a meter) but its definitely not ready for development even after waiting for 2 months after purchase.

Community Manager

Hi John,



We understand and yes, in case you want to start developing with the compute board you will need extra things, we would like to let you know that we'll pass all your suggestions to our team, adding that details could help other users.



Moreover, the Aero compute board comes with a USB cable that is connected directly to the USB port, please take a look at this guide that we think you will find useful information: /message/432063# 432063 Aero Mechanical Assembly Guide.



Additionally, regarding your last question in the first post, the Aero RTF kit includes a remote control transmitter and receiver, and a flight controller connected to the AERO Compute Board over HSUART and communicates using MAVLink* protocol.



Hope this information helps.





-Yermi A.



So to echo another you guys in support actually have an RTF?

  1. I have an Intel RTF drone. There is no cable and the board is sealed inside an enclosure. The USB is the only communication with the OS running on the board. I suppose I could use a serial cable if I could disassemble the flight controller but I don't want to damage it since it is clearly defective and will be returned.
  2. You seem to be confusing the various flight inputs and outputs. I had one of the original 3DR units so I am familiar with some of the tools you're referencing (although I am now spolied by the Phantom from an easy-to-fly perspective):
    1. The Spektrum transmitter talks to the spectrum receivers and the Aero board (I assume) listens to the servo / throttle controls on the receiver (that part works). On the 3DR it was an Arduino listening.
    2. I am not sure what is talking Mavlink. On my 3DR that was a dedicated serial link running from a UHF radio on the drone to a receiver plugged into a laptop. It had nothing to do with the R/C controller. I simply monitored the status of the sensors etc on the Arduino. The main controller (Arduino) also talked Mavlink over wired serial connection for setup. Not clear what the Mavlink tools would talk to on the Aero(?)
    3. The Areo board has a wireless AP built in (which also does BTLE). I believe there is also an antenna on the drone hooked up to said AP. I assume (since most modern drones use wifi) that this is intended as a communication path during flight(?). If so a builtin laptop wifi antenna wouldn't provide much range. I couldn't even get above the trees surrounding my house. This is why I asked about acquiring a dongle with an external antenna.
    4. There are two HD video cameras on the drone in addition to the 2 IR cameras for collision avoidance(?) One would hope that there is some way of receiving video while the drone is in the air(?) Otherwise having disconnected still cameras is a non-starter for me. I have things like trees and buildings that I have to not crash into. 90% of my flights are out of sight (streaming video to my tablet). Even if debugging an app I need FPV.

But for now this is all irrelevant. According to what I am reading the drones need to be flashed because folks are reporting that it is not steady with the code that is installed at "the factory." Can't do that without a working USB. Unless you have a way of making that work (or SSH through a wireless connection which is how I communicate with my robots) then my RTF

is NRTF.

Community Manager

This pack has leading edge Intel product platforms with only very basic systems integration.

Given your basic questions and criticism of the package, it is baffling why you have not returned it.

Intel has only pushed this as a platform for advanced drone development and experimentation. It is not a flight ready platform such as some of the ones you mention.

Some frustration might be suppressed if you release yourself and Intel from "RTF" incarceration.

The only RTF part of this pack is that it was plant tested as flight stable with the supplied radio to reduce lab variables.

Intel's RTF mission was accomplished

A. I got the drone

B. I obtained and charged up the specified battery

C. Lifted off a fully trimmed drone into stable flight

Everything else is a blank slate for prototyping - exactly the way developers want it.

A few clarifications from my experience on some of your specifics:

>>> "Laptop with enough resources to run a VM so you can run an old version of Ubuntu."

This is only if you want to compile your own image.

>>> Aero Micro HDMI Port: I use this HDMI Micro to HDMI cable from Amazon

>>> Aero Micro-A USB 3.0 OTG receptacle

Per the diagram below - this port is designed to accommodate EITHER

a) USB 2.0 Micro-B plug for USB 2.0 signaling and throughput up to 480mbps


b) USB 3.0 Micro USB plug for full USB 3.0 signaling and throughput up to 5gbps

>>> Code Updates

I have not updated the code yet - a few projects ahead - but plan load image updates using

a) the MicroSD socket (accessible through a slot on the side)

b) or connect up the Aero to the lab wifi network and pull images down direct from the AERO command line.

>>>I believe there is also an antenna on the drone hooked up to said AP

There are 2 antennas the Starboard one labeled below. The way the antennas are situated appear to maximize the radio range and minimize interference with the spektrum and GPS radios.

I'm not sure what a 'dongle' will achieve.

Your assumption is correct that WiFI provides a communications path, as explained in the documentation. I have tested and seen control and telemetry work briefly on QGroundControl.

>>> There are two HD video cameras on the drone in addition to the 2 IR cameras for collision avoidance. One would hope that there is some way of receiving video while the drone is in the air

The real sense package provides real-time video feeds. There is documentation for spinning this up in QGroundControl within the Intel doc assets.



if want to start developing on vm machine instead compute board? Just for understood how it's working can I install the intel-aero-image on VM ? can't found instructions of installation on VM.