Need to select hardware for robotic drone development

I’m looking to buy a hardware flight controller to run Copter. I have quads flying with Betaflight and will convert a large one (500mm diagonal with 11" props) to Copter.

I am a long-time software engineer with experience in real-time and micro-controllers and UNIX-like OSes and will likely be making occasional contributions. If I do I’d only test on my hardware so it might be best to remain very mainstream.

My preference is for “flight control stuff” to run on a STM32 and higher level planning in Linux. I prefer not to deal with real-time Linux kernels. I’ve done enough of that .

My interest in drones (other than FPV racing) is robotics, specially interaction with robots on the ground. A simple scenario is the drone camera finds a “target” and sends that to the wheeled platform that then drives there.

Cost is an issue but is secondary to function.

Is running Copter on the Omnibus F4 ready for prime time? I’d put that and a Raspberry Pi on the drone. Or given my goals is there a better option. The Omnibus F4 (running Betaflight) is already installed on that quad but I can swap it out if that makes sense.

Thanks a lot if you read down this far. Just looking for ideas…

That’s all very do-able with ardupilot and companion computers.
If you’re looking to some of the new small boards, the kakute f7 seems to be getting more development than the omnibus f4. They’ve got a very well working version of the kakute f7 in master, now. It has uarts to spare.
I am not sure you’d have enough ports to communicate w/ the companion computer w/ the omnibus f4. I’m not sure if it has any uarts to spare, after GPS and Telemetry radio.

Thanks, I looked it up - 6 hardware UARTS. The Kakute f7 will be on my
shopping list.

But now I’m thinking the MAVLink telemetry should go to the companion
computer. I was planning to use USB cable from a Raspberry Pi3 to the
OnmibusF4 and send/receive MAVlink over USB.

MAVlink is how Ardupilot is controlled. If any MAVlink data is to go to
the ground, the computer can forward it.

I made decent hwdef file for kakute f7. It uses f745 chip, of pixhawk usual features it has i2c bus, 6 uarts (one of them - uart6- still uses Rx for RCIN), buzzer pin outputs proper tones, 6 pwm out. There is no support for safety switch. LED pin is also useless, due to timer conflict.

Matek is getting ready new board on F765 i think, but it is not ready yet. Omnibus any boards, F4 and F7 i personally do not like but you can try it, F7 should have more or less working hwdef file in master build.
Either way you will need to build your own code for now to get full benefit of chibios flexibility. It takes a bit of effort to setup an ubuntu VMware instance but all is quite intuitive and well documented.

I would not waste much time on any F4 FC, especially omnibus f4 pro or v5. I have em, they work, but r very limited.
One with more features a lot of folks who fly planes use is a matek f405 wing. If you need more servo outs than uarts it may be a good choice as well.

Mavlink telemetry wise the best way to deal with it is to put esc8266 board on one of uarts and connect to it via wifi from any external client. It is simple to do and is quite convenient.