The ED1 Extremdron project set out to create a drone that is designed for professionals, industrial sensing applications, university and corporate R&D projects, and video/imaging equipment weighing up to 1.5kg. The ED1 utilizes an inhouse developed drone operating system to detect and configure peripherals automatically using an USB bus and comes equipped with a companion computer (Ubuntu) for high level processing. The Ubuntu companion computer operates on UNIX running a Robot Operating System (ROS) to configure, control, and log/transmit data from the payloads and sensors to a custom mission planning software. The companion computer combines the data from the sensors/payload, and the autopilot telemetry and sends it to the ground control station through a Mavlink protocols.
A custom 4 layer PCB chassis was designed and manufactured to supply the sensors and payloads with regulated 5V and 12V power at six plug locations distributed across the board. The wiring for the autopilot, radio control, camera gimbal, and the telemetry modem was embedded in the PCB to reduce external wiring bundles and failure points to create a clean Plug & Play solution.
Users can mount payloads and sensors on top or the bottom of the ED1 chasssis. The software is completely Open Source and users can create their own custom API as needed for their payloads or experiements.