Help me Choose my Electronic Components for UGV Rover (mower)

Sorry in advance if this question has been asked, but I’ve been looking around for a few weeks to and havent found enough info to base my decision off of. Sooo…

I am a robotics technician and am very familiar with our proprietary setup, however, I am working on a rover as a personal project. I am very unfamiliar with the consumer products available for hobbiest when it comes to autonomous robotics. I want to start out by putting together a mower, but would like to leave room for expansion and further development. I have a prototype platform ready, so I am currently seeking information regarding the electronic control system. Essentially I would like to put together a package that i could move to or use on a wide variety of ugv rover type of projects.

I have found information on many of the boards that are compatible with ardupilot, but much of the information is out dated. Alot of the boards are now discontinued or have little community support. I believe I want to purchase a pixhawk 4 controller as my main autopilot board, but that is where I need your help. Is the pixhawk 4 my best option or do I go with the cube, or navio/ pi 3 or…

-Ardupilot (ardurover) compatible
-Able to work with companion computer (currently have an nvidia jetson nano on the way for prototyping, but interested in other options)
-Room to expand to meet future requirements
-Decent community support
-Currently there are no size or weight restrictions (within reason)

The Question:
What board would you use if you had a budget of $500, give or take, for the autopilot board alone and why? This budget is strictly for the flight controller or autopilot board, not any external sensors, companion computers, etc.

I would get a CUBE.

However for a rover it is not so important to be supper reliable and have the best sensors. So something like a Matek F405 or Matek F405-wing or a Kakute F7 aio will get you started for <$50. You might find its fine for what you need, or once you get your basic setup working you may decide to upgrade. The cheaper controllers work essentially the same as the cube exept: no redundent imu’s, no heated imu’s, all soldered connections, no case, less servo outs. But as I say they are the perfect place to get started and figure out exactly what it is you do need.

The cube and the pixhawk 4 are the two I have been torn between. I want something that would be reliable in a commercial setting, construction site, farm, etc. Which cube would you recommend? I have not read much about each individual one but the black was my thought with the little I have found on them and also not currently knowing the pricing of the yellow or orange.

Cant go wrong with a black CUBE

Black Cube (Pixhawk 2.1) with standard carrier board on the way. I opted not to purchase the kit with GPS because I could find very little information on the HERE+. So, I realize that an average entry level RTK GPS setup starts around $500-$600, but I am curious if there is anything out there (that is not complete garbage) that can be picked up for less. I am simply looking for a temporary solution as I intend to use Trimble units on the final version on my rover, but it does not appear that the model I intend to use is supported by ardupilot yet. While I work through the details regarding this, I would like to continue development on my ugv mower rover.

If there is nothing available below $500, then what model would you choose in the $500-$800 price range and why?

Thanks for entertaining my question.

I am using the Ublox C94-M8P kit that is now $399 since they have introduced their L1/L2 ZED-F9P (I have those, too, but have not had time work with them). The C94-M8P is working very well for me but I must hasten to say that there is a considerable amount of work to make them work with Ardupilot, in the way I am doing it anyway. The main issue is that there is only one UART on the rover board (and base-same board). If, you plan to use a ground control station, such as Mission Planner to inject the RTCM correction information into the telemetry stream, you may not have as much trouble. I am using a direct wireless comm between the base and rover, so that it is independent of the ground station. I won’t go into the details here, as I have those in other places. If you are seriously interested, I will be glad to discuss with you and point you to some of my posts. I hope to create a blog with a full description of the details at some point.

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