Into Robotics ROS, Agricultural Robots and Stuff Tue, 17 Jul 2018 15:21:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Into Robotics 32 32 More Powerful Alternatives To Raspberry Pi 3 (B/B+) For Running Continuously ROS Tue, 17 Jul 2018 15:21:50 +0000 Read more →]]> More Powerful Alternatives To Raspberry Pi 3 (B/B+)

More Powerful Alternatives To Raspberry Pi 3 (B/B+)

Lately, I’m quite involved in developing a robot platform capable of navigating autonomously and do tasks in an orchard. The robot will work in the summer at high temperatures and the cooling system for electronics may not keep the temperature at an acceptable value. So I’m trying to reduce the working temperature in the box of the electronic components. The first on the list is the Raspberry Pi 3.

I use the Raspberry Pi 3 to run ROS Kinetic and control the robot. Since the robot will run continuously (24/7), I need a computer suitable for 100% up-time without unnecessary restarts or downtimes.

One of the situations where the Raspberry Pi 3 board would stop running is when the temperature exceeds a certain value. One of the optimizations is to run only the basic applications and the ROS nodes to control the robot. Running on Pi a small number of applications will consume fewer resources resulting in lower operating temperatures generated by the processing units. Even if I do my best to optimize the ROS nodes and the applications that run on Pi, I realize that I’ll need a more powerful alternative to Raspberry Pi 3 (B/B+) to complete the next steps in developing the robot.

The idea is to replace the Pi 3 with a more powerful computer at a decent price. A computer with a price of maximum €150. I did a little research to see the alternatives to Pi 3, and here is the result.

Jetson TK1 / TX1 / TX2 or Intel NUC is out of the question for now. Any of the three Jetson variants or the Intel computer cost a few hundred euros. It is worth investing money in such a board if running ROS along with a number of computer vision applications. Otherwise, I do not see any reason to spend hundreds of euro to run ROS nodes.


    XU4 has a price of about €63, a Cortex-A15 processor that can provide 2Ghz and 2GB of LPDDR3. The only minus of this board is the lack of an integrated WIFi module. For €5 I can buy a WiFi module to provide a complete solution for wireless Internet connection. Otherwise, this board is the first on the list.

  2. ASUS Tinker

    From Asus, we have a Tinker board that can run ROS Kinetic on a QuadCore ARM SOC 1.8GHz processor with 2GB of RAM. It has an on-board WiFi module and a price around €49. I have some doubts about the operating system. Some users from Amazon said that Android and Debian images provided by Asus were unstable and performed very poorly. This makes me think twice about making a decision. It is very important to me that the board will work without stopping for months. An unstable operating system can lead to a large number of reboots and downtime.

  3. Rock64

    Rock64 is a less-known alternative to Pi 3. The board comes in several variants and the strongest has 4GB of RAM and an ARM Cortex A53 64-bit processor. The board has full support for Linux Ubuntu and Debian. The price is also good considering the performance – around €38. The only thing that worries me about this board is the community support. An active community saves me for a lot of hours to fix issues.

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The SWEEPER robot Fri, 13 Jul 2018 08:03:36 +0000

The SWEEPER robot is the first sweet pepper harvesting robot in the world demonstrated in a commercial greenhouse. It is designed to operate in a single stem row cropping system, with a crop having non-clustered fruits and little leaf occlusion.

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How To Setup ROS Kinetic To Communicate Between Raspberry Pi 3 and a remote Linux PC Tue, 10 Jul 2018 06:58:53 +0000 Read more →]]>

I work these days to setup ROS Kinetic to communicate between Raspberry Pi 3 and a remote Linux PC. The Raspberry Pi 3 has limited capabilities for graphics applications such as rviz and other visualization software. In conclusion, I need this setup to remotely monitor and control my robot and for graphics applications.

To link the robot’s Raspberry Pi and the remote computer, I have two options:

  1. both computers communicate on the same network;
  2. both computers communicate via a VPN;

I choose the first option since I have both computers connected to the same WiFi network.

Here is how I did:
Since the robot will work at a fairly large distance away from the remote computer, I decide to use a high power outdoor access point to connect the Pi and the PC to the same WiFi network.

I did a research and I buy a TP-Link 5GHz 300Mbps 13dBi. The price is very good considering that I can control and monitor the robot over a distance of several kilometers. According to the specifications, the access point offers a range of 15 kilometers (I guess in ideal conditions). A range of up to one kilometer is enough for what I need.

Next, I’ll describe the steps that I did to setup ROS Kinetic to communicate between Raspberry Pi 3 and the remote Linux computer.

  • Step 1: The first step was to check that everything was okay with ROS Kinetic on my remote computer. I installed it some time ago using the steps described here.
  • Step 2: The second step was to install a new Linux image and ROS Kinetic on one of the Raspberry Pi 3 board from my Pi collection. Here it took me some time because I chose to install ROS on the Raspbian Stretch Lite.
    This operating system is what I need for my robot: it doesn’t have desktop applications or a GUI of any kind.
  • Step 3: At this step, I pay some attention at the IP address for the ROS master node (Pi) and the IP for other ROS node (Linux PC).
    1. on Raspberry Pi 3 type the following command:
      sudo nano .bashrc

      Navigate to the end of the file and add these two lines:

      #The IP address for the Master node = the IP address of Raspberry Pi
      export ROS_MASTER_URI=
      #The IP address for the Master node= the IP address of Raspberry Pi
      export ROS_HOSTNAME=
    2. on the Linux PC, type the following command:
      sudo nano .bashrc

      Navigate to the end of the file and add these lines:

      #The IP address for the Master node = the IP address of Raspberry Pi
      export ROS_MASTER_URI=
      #The IP address for your Linux PC
      export ROS_HOSTNAME=

These are all the steps to make two Linux computers communicate and share nodes, topics, and services.

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TFmini: A New Single-point Ranging Sensor Module Compatible Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Pixhawk Mon, 09 Jul 2018 09:30:52 +0000 Read more →]]>
TFmini LiDAR Sensor

TFmini LiDAR Sensor

There are several types of LiDAR sensors:

  1. sensor designed to bring powerful 360 degrees sensing capabilities to everyone;
  2. single-point ranging module;

This new sensor is part of the second category and is designed to be used for drones, UAVs, robots.

The coverage range of the TFmini sensor is very small. In this case, it can be used to detect only large objects. Do you have a robot and you want to detect the presence of a wall, or a tree or any other large size object at a distance between 0.3 and 12m? This sensor is ideal. But if you want to build an autonomous robot able to navigate in your garden or in a park where are objects of different sizes that need to be detected, it is recommended to use a sensor with 360-degrees sensing capabilities.

The sensor comes with examples for Arduino, Raspberry Pi, ROS, and more.

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Today’s Best Deal – Monday, 9 July 2018 Mon, 09 Jul 2018 09:06:03 +0000 Read more →]]>
  • From Amazon a sensor night vision webcam 5MP compatible with Raspberry Pi 3/2/B/B+/A/A+
  • From Sparkfun, the today’s deal is a longwave infrared (LWIR) thermal imaging camera compatible with Arduino and Raspberry Pi
  • A hexapod kit with aluminum body and 3 degrees of freedom
  • This 50A regenerative drivers have been opened up and returned to SuperDroidRobots
  • From Amazon a car kit with a video camera for Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+/B/ 2B
  • A book for beginners in Raspberry Pi
  • Arduino starter kit
  • From RobotShop we have a deal for an indoor navigation positioning system
  • Bonus, an autonomous robot.

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