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Teal One drone runs Linux on a Jetson TX1 and flies at 60 mph

Oct 11, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 1000 views

Teal has launched a $1,200 “Teal One” drone that runs Linux on a Jetson TX1 module and an Ambarella SoC with PX4 support. The quadcopter can fly at up to 60 mph for 15 minutes and shoot [email protected] video.

Salt Lake City based Teal was launched by CEO George Matus at the age of 17 to pursue his love of FPV drone racing. The company launched a Teal Sport FPV racing drone that runs on an MCU-based KISS flight controller and sells for $499 for a barebones model and $799 fully accessorized. Now, at age 21, Matus has followed up with his promised Teal One, a higher-end, all-purpose, semi-autonomous camera quadcopter.



Teal One
(click image to enlarge)

When we saw that the Teal One had an onboard Nvidia Jetson TX1 module, we guessed that it ran Linux, and the company has confirmed the presence of a “Linux stack.” There’s a TealSDK that offers “advanced controls and telemetry, video and augmented reality, and support for C, Swift & Java.” The SDK supports autonomous flight algorithms, as well as safety features including flight bubbles, geofencing, and speed governors.

The $1,200 price is on the high side considering that market leaders like the DJI Mavic Pro start at about $800 and Parrot’s Linux-based Bebop 2 goes for $300. However, if you want to fly like the wind, the 60 miles per hour (96.5 km/h) Teal One may be the fastest ride you can find on an all-purpose camera drone. Racing drones go from 70 to 100 mph, with the Teal Sport achieving 80 mph, but the Mavic Pro tops out at 40 mph and the Bebop 2 at 37 mph.

All these are maximum speeds with no wind, but for the record, the Teal One also claims to provide 40 mph wind resistance. Flight time is a modest 15 minutes, compared to up to 25 minutes on the Bebop 2 and 30 or more on some higher end models, although it should be noted that most claimed flight times are exaggerated. In any case, you can buy a second battery for $99.



Teal One rear view (left) and kit
(click images to enlarge)

Nvidia’s Linux-driven, 87 x 50mm Jetson TX1 module features 4x Arm Cortex-A57 cores, as well as a 256-core Maxwell GPU with support for CUDA libraries for machine learning. The module has been followed by a more powerful, pin-compatible Jetson TX2 module, so assuming the Teal One finds a place in the crowded drone market, a TX2-based Teal Two is quite possible.

Linux is likely running on the Teal One’s Ambarella Camera Processor, which controls its 12-megapixel camera. Considering that the camera supports up to [email protected] video, this is likely the quad -A53 Ambarella CV2 SoC, which like the earlier Ambarella S2Lm, runs Linux.

The 12-megapixel camera has an HDR sensor and f/2.5 lens with a 123 x 90-degree field of view. Video resolution drops down from [email protected] (portrait mode) to [email protected] for a stabilized landscape view. The New Atlas story that alerted us to the Teal One release notes that the camera uses electronic stabilization instead of a gimbal. “So it appears the Teal will use the additional resolution at the top and bottom of the frame to compensate for the tilt you get when you move a drone in the air,” says the story.

The Teal One also features a PX4 compatible flight controller supported with PX4 communications protocols in the SDK. No details were provided, but on the Linux-on-TX2 driven Gumstix Aerocore 2 for Nvidia Jetson drone controller board, the APM-based PX4 firmware runs on top of NuttX on a Cortex-M4 MCU. With PX4, you get app compatibility with PX4-compatible projects such as QGroundControl and MAVLink.

You can communicate with the drone via 802.11b/g/n (WiFi 4) with a 600 foot (183 meters) range, providing you with a 720p live stream. The Teal One is equipped with a GPS chip, naturally, as well as 2x IMUs. Other sensors include altimeter, magnetometer, rangefinder, current, voltage, RPM, and temperature. An SD slot and card loaded with firmware is also onboard.

Standard features include 3x black pin, clockwise propellers, 3x silver pin, counterclockwise propellers, 2x black button arms, and 2x silver button arms. The arms are easily swappable and claimed to be easy to repair, but you can also buy backups. There’s also a battery charger and cable.



TealFlight app
(click image to enlarge)

The Teal One ships with an Android or iOS TealFlight app that offers one- or two-handed controller views, as well as multi-touch and voice control modes. The Teal One is also compatible with the Gamevice controller extension for smartphones.

 
Further information

The Teal One quadcopter is available now for $1,199. More information may be found on the Teal One product and shopping pages.
 

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