Is it possible to use the VOXL CAM with a second companion computer?

  • I would like to understand if the following configuration/usage of the voxl cam is possible.

    VOXL Cam VIO --> Intel Upboard (ROS) --> PX4 Flight Controller

    I've already got the upboard (ros) and px4 flight controller integrated with one another. What I would like to be able to do with the VOXL Cam is get the VIO estimate as a ROS odometry message to use with the rest of my ROS software running on the upboard.

    I understand that the VOXL Cam already has a voxl_mpa_to_ros software which provides the VIO estimate as both a PoseStamped and Odometry message, but I believe that is meant to run on the VOXL Cam. What would I run on the companion computer "host" to get that data? What would the electrical connection be?

  • Dev Team

    Hi @m1baldwin ,

    I theory this sounds doable. A proof of concept could be using IP, so you could get VOXLCAM and the Upboard on the same network using WiFi on VOXLCAM (it ships as an access point, so you could connect your Upboard to it).

    Or you could use a USB to Ethernet adapter off of a daughter-board on the back of the VOXL CAM.

    Inside VOXLCAM is a VOXL, and a debug board can be used like this as an option:

    Then I think it's a matter of networking with ROS, I'm not too familiar with that, but I think that's normal.

  • The VOXL CAM has a companion computer, VOXL, built in that is running ROS.

  • Thanks @modaltb , I appreciate your feedback. I think the usb-to-ethernet can make sense at least for proof-of-concept.

    @Chad-Sweet Yes, I am aware there is already a companion computer on the VOXL Cam. In my current work, I've already got an autonomy stack implemented on-top of a custom px4 drone platform with the upboard as the companion. My first interest is to add the VOXL Cam purely as a "tracking module" to replace something like the intel t265, and integrate the odometry out of it into my existing software. This would give me a way to evaluate the VOXL Cam in the use-cases I am exploring with a drone/autonomy configuration that is known to work. From there, depending on how well it works, I might consider replacing the upboard with the VOXL Cam, but that would not be the first thing I would do, as I would have quite a bit of software to re-work/port

    edit: It's good the VOXL can already run ros; I figure I could use voxl_mpa_to_ros to pass the VIO data over ROS from the VOXL to the Upboard in this PoC just to get started easily.

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