Advice on autonomous flight with a quadcopter


So we’re a small team which wants to create an autonomous quad copter. Our ideal situation would be having the cheapest ardupilot flight controller possible which could transmit the signal to a Jetson TX1 (companion computer) which would be processed by a neural network and the send the decision back to the drone. How would we go about doing this?

All the docs point out that the companion computer would be on the actual drone which is a no-go for us.

We’re new to the world of DIY drones and would very much appreciate some help. Thanks!

If you use dronekit it doesn’t matter where the calculation takes place, simply change the connection string to your UDP-Stream, Telemtry-Module etc. But keep in mind that you will have more latency…

For my own curiosity, why this no-go ?
As @Vabe explained, you can suffer from latency (which is not good if you need the calculation of the Jetson for the position of the drone for example), and you have to take into account the risk of lost of communication and the behavior of the drone in this case.

Any way, you can use dronekit or ROS for the communication between the companion and the flight controller.