Solo Alternate Companion Computer

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I'll just come right out with it - At present the Companion computer, while a marvel of engineering when developed, is holding back enhancements that could be happening and really limiting the potential of what I think is a fine bird.

To that end, I am determined to develop a way to swap in either a NanoPC-T4 [from friendlyarm.com] or another SBC that has a PCIe/USB3 available. Why the PCIe/USB3 ? This would allow an HDMI capture device and keep video feed in the sololink stream.

The python should be more than portable enough. I'll have to work on the kernel compilation and thin down a base armbian install. Maybe set up the build system on Gentoo? Eventually I hope to get on a modern-ish kernel to allow:
1. usage of the latest gstreamer.
2. compilation of latest versions of libraries
3. usage of python 3.x
4. easy interface with FTDI 232H/MPSSE

So, if anyone has done any alternative companion computer work I beg your wisdom. If anyone has any thoughts or wants to contribute software help or otherwise get this off the ground please let me know.
 
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Looks like the Armbian image for these RK3399 boards is maturing rapidly. Current kernel is 4.4, with plans to move to 4.20.

Guess I'll be diving back into that image I took of the Solo's filesystem and partitions, start matching up software to see what I'd need to add and subtract to get a functioning companion computer.

Also suppose I need to dig out the pinout for the IMX6 and start matching pins...
 
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What kind of enhancements would you have in mind? The IMX has plenty of resources left for new stuff and handles video, smartshots and all RC pretty well.
For high end computing needs such as image recognition, AI, video processing etc you can add eg a Jetson via USB to the IMX and directly communicate via mavlink.
For more simple things just add a RasPi or Arduino.
 
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The current IMX is stuck on a kernel revision from many years ago and doesn't have the internals required for modern versions of Gstreamer. The version of python is being deprecated. The amount of memory/compute cores for OpenCV is EXTREMELY limited. I've tried for months to get the libraries for my Accessory Bay Super Board [MPSSE/libftdi] to compile and I just can't get it completed. Handling of multiple simultaneous camera feeds. Handling of 4k30 or 4k60 video feeds. Exposed USB ports that WORK with at a bare minimum mass storage. Exposed serial or PWM ports for control of any number of cameras or servos or gimbals

My personal list goes on and on.

Adding another companion computer reduces the weight available and/or reduces total time in the air. So to me that is a non-starter. Not to mention increasing complexity and requiring external mounting.
 
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