Crazyflie piloted by Raspberry Pi

Last week we received one of the new raspberry pi and we wanted to start doing something useful with it. One idea that came directly in mind was to control the copter with it. As it has 2 USB port it should be possible to use one for the gamepad and one for the Crazyradio dongle.

The Raspberry pi running Debian the operation ended up being surprisingly easy: Just apt-get install python, pygame and pyUSB and we where able to run our old script. By adding pyQT we where even able to run the GUI out of the box (it is still a bit heavy though as the GUI is not yet very optimized when receiving fast log informations). So we just made a “headless” version of the control software, launched it automatically with a udev rule when the radio is inserted and it was done!

We can power the Raspberry pi with a USB battery and we now have a small portable ground station for the Crazyflie. We have also proven that our PC software tools are easily portable to other architecture thanks to Python and all its libs. Currently the software is tested on Windows and Linux (x86 and ARM), but it should also work on MAC.

Raspberry PI controlling the Crazyflie

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18 Responses to “Crazyflie piloted by Raspberry Pi”

  1. Mitek says:

    Cool!
    You try with small LCD for ground station ?
    Still sources not available ?

    • tobias says:

      As soon or just before we do the pre-release we will release everything.

  2. Simon says:

    Awesome! This makes everything super portable.
    I have a raspberry pi sitting at home just waiting for Crazyflie to control.

  3. tmg-tt says:

    Awesome! Just found another kickstarted quad here
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/qfolabs/mimixtm-tilt-to-fly-controller-and-nanoqtm-copter

    they raising 230k and already got 60k. I think that might be a way for you to offload production startup costs.

    • tobias says:

      We have been talking about Kickstarter in some other posts and since we don’t live in the USA we can’t use it. We will use some kind of pre-funding in the form of pre-ordering though so we don’t have to pay huge amounts from our own pocket.

  4. Fabian says:

    a small status display would be qiet cool on this portable station…

  5. Fabian says:

    is it possible to use a vpf camera on this??

    • Fabian says:

      *fpv sorry

      • tobias says:

        Yes, if the FPV is light enough (preferable below 5g). But since it is a very versatile platform it is also possible to exchange the motors to stronger ones to carry more weight.

        • Sven says:

          you mentioned stronger motors for more weight to carry. would you then ship it with them, as an order option?

          carring more weight, to use more then one cam would be cool

          i think of six cameras, one in every direction

          • tobias says:

            We which that it could have been an option but we have not been able to evaluate it. For the motor size we use we are already close to the max powerof what is availible. The motor has then to be increased in size which requires different propellers, new motor mounts and preferably increased arm trength due to weight increase. This is something we have on our whishlist so in the future there will probably be an option.

  6. r00t4rd3d says:

    Seems like all you guys do is fuck around instead of getting these things to market. Vaporware.

    Bookmark and interest gone.

    • tobias says:

      Sorry to hear that you lost interest but you must understand that this is a hobby project and a very complex one. We work as much as we can and have energy for and it is also about having fun. If we loose the fun we would most likely also stop developing the project. You are always free to build your own palm sized quad!

  7. Tired of waiting says:

    Why build one when there are better alternatives already on the market for significantly cheaper. I got tired of waiting for you guys to get it done.

    • tobias says:

      Sorry to hear you lost interest and yes we agree it has taken a lot of time, something we haven’t either been prepared fore but we are doing the best we can.

      Can you please share the other better and cheaper alternatives? Would be good to know as we wouldn’t want to risk a lot of money on something that is outdated.

  8. randomizer says:

    Never mind the haters. You guys are awesome, I love this project!

    In terms of “hacks”, have you guys thought about adding a solar panel on top of the PCB to enhance outdoor flying on sunny days? I don’t know how much output such a tiny solar panel would produce, or if the power module can support this or not, but I just thought of asking…

    Keep up the good work ;) I’m definitely putting some money aside to order one of those soon.

    • tobias says:

      Thanks! I don’t know if a solar panel would contribute enough to make it feasible but the power module should handle it if the solar panel outputs 4.35 – 6.4V.

  9. randomizer says:

    Yeah, I looked into it and unfortunately such a small solar panel probably won’t provide a strong enough output. Would have been awesome to get longer flight time outdoors though.

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