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NXP and Auterion join on hardware/software integration for drones

NXP and Auterion join forces to enable next-generation secure drone fleets with automotive certified solutions, high-reliability networking, and a scalable and open software platform.

Photo: narvikk/ iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: narvikk/ iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

On July 6 at the PX4 Developer Summit 2020, NXP Semiconductors and Auterion announced a collaboration to develop integrated hardware and software solutions for the unmanned aerial systems industry.

Working together, the companies aim to develop highly reliable and advanced hardware and software solutions deployable in an unmanned aerial vehicle.

With the development of regulations and the increasing number of autonomous systems in the field, the requirement for components and software that are certifiable and the ability to deploy intelligence on the edge is becoming more and more important.

NXP provides semiconductor components and expertise leading to certifiable electronics solutions, including computational horsepower, secure element for encryption and authentication, and high reliability automotive networking.

Auterion is offering the hardware reference design and Auterion Enterprise PX4, the software for the flight controller and the mission computer to make drone fleets safe and fully integrated into workflows. Auterion is the largest contributor to PX4 and builds its software platform on open standards, ensuring that enterprises have access to a managed and tested distribution of the open source technology.

The partnership addresses the needs of the unmanned aerial vehicles industry for compatible hardware and software solutions that will help drone manufactures bring state-of-the-art products to market. The aim is to ensure that manufacturers have a streamlined path to certification and are connected to existing workflows.

“This partnership will enable the mobile robotics community with the components meeting quality specifications needed to ensure functional safety and security in drones and rovers based on reliable long life industrial and automotive parts and reference designs,” said Iain Galloway, Drone Program Lead, Systems Innovation, NXP. “We have been participating in the open source PX4 community for several years now and with this close relationship with Auterion, and Auterion Enterprise PX4, we are excited to work together to ensure these vehicles are prepared to meet current and future regulations and standards governing modular safe drone architectures.”

“Safety is the number one priority in commercial drone operations. NXP’s leading position as a semiconductor provider for safety-critical automotive applications is the perfect pairing for Auterion’s enterprise-grade drone software platform,” said Lorenz Meier, co-founder and CEO, Auterion. “Together, we will be able to provide integrated hardware and software solutions to the drone industry that combine high-performance compute with safety-first engineering.”

NXP and Auterion will collaborate on the core hardware and software components of an autonomous system, this includes, but is not limited to, the following topics:

Developing the next generation Auterion Skynode avionics module reference design, based on the latest Pixhawk autopilot Reference Standards and on the NXP i.MX 8M Mini as a companion computer, and on future components in this family.

  • Integrating navigation modules incorporating NXP Ultra-Wideband (UWB), automotive MCU, NFC and authentication for precision landing applications.
  • Developing Battery Management System (BMS) solutions based on the latest Pixhawk Smart Battery Standards.
  • Developing Automotive CAN and CAN-FD node solutions supporting popular software protocols such as UAVCAN and MRCAN for mobile robotics peripherals.
  • Collaborate in the data cybersecurity and drone regulatory space to help shape and meet future regulations.

Both parties will continue to support the PX4 open source community and upstream PX4 development, in an effort to enable the whole industry.

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