Drone cape for BeagleV-Fire

PolarFire SoC platform allow to create a powerful Drone cape with multiple motors control (octocopter) in FPGA fabric, avionics / flight control on one of Risc-V cores , image processing/ML on fabric with communication module on M2 interface.

The drone cape would allow to create a fully functional drone with all sensors IMU, Bar Pressure/Temp, Compass, GPS, ToF and Lidar interface. We also can have battery management/charging via USB-C for a couple sets of 3 x 18650 batteries.

Goal: Drone on Beaglebone

Hardware Skills: Verilog/VHDL, verification, FPGA
Software Skills: Linux, C++,
Possible Mentors: @jkridner

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We can use the existing Robotics Cape as a starting point and the existing BeagleBone Blue port of ArduPilot.

It is interesting that people just put me as a possible mentor. We really need members of the community to step up to help students reach these goals. We generally have a requirement of 2.5 mentors per student and only 1 student to have an individual as their primary mentor.

Okay so,

I can help in the build process (I think). I have been completely WANTING to fly my BBB or other am335x supported SBCs with ArduPilot, i.e. either a Quad or another form of ground bot for ground movements.

Either way, I have been in their repos for some bit building and making things almost work. I remember there was a fellow from somewhere down south in South America who knew of the build around the BBBlue well enough to even help me with the PRU onboard the BBBlue.

In any light here, I do not know if mentoring is my thing in this realm but…

  1. I can support the cause.
  2. Help when people are too busy to supply assistance.
  3. I can review my notes on building which works to this day, i.e. even with Bookworm.


P.S. I know too little of the FPGA/PolarFire but if it can adapt to Linux which it can, I may still be of some use. Heads up!

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Hello everyone,

I am very interested in this project and want to contribute to it. Can you assign me some tasks related to this project?

I know Verilog HDL, have knowledge about RISC-V architecture, and am familiar with software tools like Xilinx Vivado and Intel Quartus Prime.

Try making a fork of BeagleV-Fire / Gateware · GitLab and see what might make sense to customize for a drone cape.

Okay, I will look into it. Thank you

I had a doubt and needed clarity.
I discovered Ardupilot documentation for porting to a new board, and BeagleBone Blue (now known as librobotcontrol, if I am not mistaken) has an existing Ardupilot port.
I was thinking about customising the robotics cape supported by BeagleV-Fire and sending the needed outputs to the fabric, which would control the drone’s ESEs.

Do I need to add the port for BeagleV-Fire and then proceed with the aforesaid methodology? Or is it okay to continue without adding the port?

Please let me know if I am incorrect somewhere and if I am thinking in the right way.

Thank you.

I also realised that this project isn’t on the BeagleBoard ideas page.

Does this mean this won’t be a mentored project for GSOC’24 and I won’t be able to upload the proposal on the GSOC official website?

Please clarify my confusion.

Thank You


This is how I picture the operation of avionics. Do let me know if I am thinking in the right direction

Thank You

Hey @mischaoz, can you review Draft: GSoC Proposal for "Drone Cape for BeagleV-Fire" by Saish Karole (!32) · Merge requests · Google Summer of Code / gsoc.beagleboard.io · GitLab ? Are you interested in supporting this project?

I will share my recommendation and block diagram of Drone Cape in a couple days. I am using sensors similar to sensors in Pixhawk project.

I will support project.
I am working on the schematic design of the Drone Cape and will share details in a couple days.

Hello @mischaoz,

Thanks for supporting this project
I am excited to know more about your design and available to discuss it on this forum

Hello @mischaoz

Could you please review my proposal and provide your comments on it, as I need to submit it before April 2nd?

Hi Saish,

Since December 2023 I spent my time analysing alternative platforms and sensors they are using. I had analysed architecture and sensors of Pixhawk and research the best sensors available today.
I am working on BeagleV-Fire Drone Cape that have have a comprehensive set of sensors, with ability to have up to eight motors and battery management system with USB-C charging utilising widely available batteries (18650 or 26650). I have done schematic of the Drone Cape. The platform consist of :

  • 8 motor drivers (MCP8022-GateDrive, MCP3564 – ADC)
  • GPS - NEO-M8P / NEO-M8N
  • IMU - ICM-40609-D (TDK –InvenSense)
  • Compass/Magnetic sensor MMC5983MA (Memsic)
  • Barometric pressure/altimiter MS5611-01BA03 (TE)
  • ToF – ICU-20201 (TDK –InvenSense)
  • RGB and IR light sensor BU27006MUC (ROHM)
  • Lidar connector/driver for (LIDAR-LITE V3 HP) – I2C (Garmin)
  • Battery Management for 4 x 26650 (Li-ion or LifePO4)
  • USB-C charging
    2 x mikroBUS sockets for communication modules

Would you be interested to collaborate on this platform?
I can share schematic of this Drone Cape for review.

We are planning to start PCB design soon.

Hello @mischaoz,

I am very interested in being a GSoC contributor and working on the gateware, specifically the image processing part. I am not very inclined to work on the PCB for the cape