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The Pixhawk 32-Bit Autopilot System for Autonomous Vehicles from 3D Robotics is essentially a very specialized computer that provides flight control for autonomous RC aircraft such as quadcopters. It features a 32-bit ARM-based CPU and the software it uses features a Unix-like development environment, allowing programmers to create the exact customizations a particular application requires.
Pixhawk is a PPM-input autopilot, which means that it gets RC input from a single cable to the receiver, either via the PPM port, the Futaba S.BUS port, or the special satellite receiver port for Spektrum gear. Most modern RC receivers allow for PPM output, but some, such as non-S.BUS Futaba receivers, do not. If your receiver does not support PPM output, you will also need a separately available PPM encoder board.
Technology designed as part of the PX4 open-hardware project and manufactured by 3D Robotics - featuring processor and sensor technology from ST Microelectronics and a NuttX real-time operating system
Software features include multithreading, a Unix/Linux-like programming environment, autopilot functions such as Lua scripting of missions and flight behavior, and a custom PX4 driver layer designed to ensure tight timing across all processes
Supports a range of separately available peripherals , including a PPM encoder, airspeed sensor, a telemetry radio an external multi-color LED indicator, and an external magnetometer - all peripherals are automatically detected and configured
14 PWM/servo outputs - 8 with failsafe and manual override, 6 auxiliary, high-power compatible
Integrated backup system for in-flight recovery and manual override with dedicated processor and stand-alone power supply
Backup system integrates mixing, providing consistent autopilot and manual override mixing modes
Redundant power supply inputs and automatic failover
External safety button for easy motor activation
A microSD card is included for long-time, high-rate logging
High-power, multi-tone piezo audio indicator
In the Box
3DR Pixhawk 32-Bit Autopilot System for Autonomous Vehicles
ST Micro L3GD20 3-axis, 16-bit gyroscope
ST Micro LSM303D 3-axis, 14-bit accelerometer/magnetometer
Invensense MPU 6000 3-axis accelerometer/gyroscope
MEAS MS5611 barometer
5 x UART (serial ports); 1 x high-power capable, 2 x with HW flow control
2 x CAN-bus ports
1 x Spektrum DSM/DSM2/DSMX Satellite compatible input (up to DX8; DX9 and above not supported)
1 x Futaba S.BUS compatible input/output
1 x PPM sum signal port
1 x RSSI (PWM or voltage) input
1 x I2C
1 x SPI
1 x Micro-USB
Ideal diode controller with automatic failover
Servo rail high-power (7 VDC) and high-current ready
All peripheral outputs over-current protected
All inputs ESD protected