Hardware Expansion Module

We developed a USB expansion module that connects to the parrot AR Drone 2. The board is based on our FireFly wireless sensor networking platform and can be used to support mesh networking as well as rapid integration of additional sensor and actuator devices. The board draws power from the drone and mounts as a USB serial device. This requires additional drivers that are included in the drone-rk software distribution.


The module has the following features:
  • ATmega128rfa1 Microcontroller
  • USB serial interface to the drone
  • 802.15.4 Radio with power amplifier (1km line-of-sight range)
  • GPS chipset

In the picture above, the lower board has a Venus chipset GPS receiver which is stacked on top of the main processor board. The longer whip antenna is for the power amplified 802.15.4 front-end which has a line-of-sight range exceeding 1km. The main processor has easy access to power, a UART and a GPIO pin. The hirose connector on the board exposes all of the ATmega128rfa1 pins. Below are pictures of the separated boards with an oval GPS antenna.

drone-1-thumb.jpg (57.4 KB) Anthony Rowe, 02/13/2013 11:00 am

ff-gps.jpg (59.1 KB) Anthony Rowe, 02/13/2013 11:00 am

two-boards.jpg (59 KB) Anthony Rowe, 02/13/2013 11:24 am

drone-2-thumb.jpg (50.7 KB) Anthony Rowe, 02/13/2013 02:01 pm

drk-exp.jpg (114 KB) Anthony Rowe, 05/18/2013 04:22 pm