Raspberry Pi 3: Four days old and already flying

Fruity autopilot fun

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The Raspberry Pi 3 is only four days old, but it can already fly, thanks to Spanish outfit Erle Robotics and its PXFmini autopilot shield.

The diminutive €69 PXFmini - 31mm by 73mm and weighing just 15g - is specifically designed for use with the Pi Zero, in those cases where a seriously compact and light Linux autopilot is the order of the day.

The PXFmini mounted atop the Pi 3

However, it'll work with other flavours of Pi, and Erle Robotics has wasted no time hooking it up to the latest addition to the fun-sized Brit computer family (see pic above) and getting it airborne.

Erle Robotics flew the Pi 3 running APM, part of the open source Dronecode Software Platform. Those of you of a technical bent can get details on the first flight here at DIY Drones. Doubtless the Pi 3 will prove as effective with other autopilot shields, such as the Navio, born of an Indiegogo tin-rattle back in 2014.

It's proving a busy year for Erle Robotics. In January, it secured funding from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as part of the Robotics Fast Track (RFT) programme.

The company is tasked with developing the Hardware Robot Operating System (H-ROS), described as "a project that will create easily reusable and reconfigurable robot hardware components, providing a game-changing and homogenous platform for manufacturers and users". ®

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