Final week Joonas from fpv.wtf launched some information on Twitter on what we imagine is the origins of the DJI digital FPV system chipset often called the P1 and what Waslksnail could also be utilizing within the Avatar system and at present I needed to develop on that.
There was a large quantity of conjecture and hypothesis over the Avatar system and whether it is truly DJI, based mostly on DJI chipset or simply one thing comparable. To know this extra we’ve got to take a look at DJI first and the chipsets they’ve used through the years from Leadcore, Artosyn and others. Leadcore To begin we first have to know who and what Leadcore is, the corporate was a fabless chipset design home that was a subsidiary of Datang Telecom Expertise Co., Ltd, who in themselves was a subsidiary of the partly Chinese language state-owned “China Academy of Telecommunications Expertise”.
Leadcore’s major enterprise was the event of utility processors and IP for cell gadgets. In 2014 they had been the sixth-largest provider of smartphone SOC in China. Its LC1860 chipset was broadly utilized in gadgets throughout China. Leadcore seems to have considerably vanished in 2018 when its dad or mum firm Datang Telecom Expertise was apparently having monetary difficulties and confronted being delisted from the Shanghai Inventory Alternate.
Nevertheless, their chipsets are nonetheless used at present in lots of drones from Autel and their IP lives on in different chipsets. Artosyn Shanghai Kuxin Microelectronics Co.Ltd, recognized in China as Kuxin with the Artosyn model is a Chinese language fabless chip design home specialising on wi-fi video processing and AI chipsets. So again to DJI.
The most effective place to begin is with the discharge of the Encourage 1 (I1) the place DJI introduces Lightbridge. A brand new Wimax-based wi-fi system that changed the fundamental WiFi-based techniques they had been utilizing earlier than and provided HD lengthy vary video and RC management hyperlink. It was initially pushed by an Altera Cyclone V FPGA within the I1 after which Phantom 3 Superior and Professional, then later within the Phantom 4. In later variants of those fashions such because the B, C remotes DJI changed the FPGA with a pair of SDR chips from Artosyn, the AR8001 DSP and AR8003 RF transceiver.
The general system was the identical, merely the chipset it was operating on modified. Somewhat later with the discharge of the Encourage 2, DJI began utilizing the Leadcore LC1860 chipset alongside the Artosyn AR8001 with an AD transceiver. Within the Phantom 4 Professional DJI once more was utilizing Lightbridge 2 nevertheless this time the Artosyn AR8001 was gone and changed with a really similar-looking chipset however with a DJI emblem on it. It’s believed this was nonetheless the AR8001 or no less than a variant and exhibits DJI was beginning to ‘tinker’ with getting silicon with its personal identify or particular specs.
When DJI launched the Mavic Professional it got here with a brand new wi-fi system referred to as Ocusync. Total similar to Lightbrige however the huge technical change on this was that it was stated to be an SDR. While Lightbridge was additionally an SDR with the Artosyn chipsets beneath the hood modifications had been that the Artosyn chipsets had been gone and the Leadcore LC1860C coupled with the IE1000 entrance finish transceiver from Creativeness took over the total job of the radio system.
At this level, it’s truthful to summarize that DJI had been engaged on utilizing the built-in SDR LTE modems and the ARM cores for driving the wi-fi system for a while on the Leadcore chipset alongside and felt it was now able to transition to that absolutely. DJI continued to make use of the LC1860C Leadcore chipsets because the SDR in all Ocusync and Ocusync 2 fashions from that time together with within the Ocusync Air FPV system, the DJI White Goggles and Goggles RE. O2 that was launched with the Mavic 2 was very a lot a code enchancment over Ocusync in most respects and even provided some compatibility backwards and forwards.
Quietly within the life span of the Mavic 2 DJI launched a B distant with the enterprise version, that in itself was nothing notably uncommon as we’ve got seen up to now nevertheless there was a somewhat giant hidden change and that was that DJI changed the Leadcore LC1860C with a brand new and on the time unknown chipset.
This new IC seen in FCC filings has a Leadcore emblem amongst others however seemed totally different to the whole lot earlier than, nevertheless later we now understand it seems to be lots like what was to come back subsequent. This brings us considerably up-to the current day and the DJI Digital FPV System.
With the discharge of this DJI launched the P1 chipset. This new SOC was believed to be a customized DJI ASIC that allowed them to develop a decrease latency system than we had seen from anybody earlier than. As time has gone on and with a large quantity of labor from the likes of tmbinc, bri3d and joonas we now know that the P1 is absolutely only a custom-made and devoted Leadcore IP based mostly chipset with tweaks to the LTE baseband that transcend simply utilizing the modems like in Ocusync 2.
It’s nothing particularly magical, it’s simply extra custom-made for this use case with the “bits” not wanted for tablets and smartphones eliminated and deeper modifications to the LTE baseband. We all know it nonetheless has two huge Cortex-A7 cores, some small ones, Ceva DSP’s and some different bits.
They’re principally utilizing the identical CPU core + DSP setup because the Leadcore chipset and it’s probably operating customized software program for his or her LTE-based OcuSync and that is what’s making the distinction. The primary A7 core on the P1 runs Linux, whereas the second runs the baseband RTOS together with devoted DSPs. All later drone fashions from DJI together with the M200 V2, M300, Mavic Air 2, Air 2S, Mini 2, and Mavic 3 all use the P1 chipset with their remotes utilizing both the P1 or its smaller brother the S1. The P1 has turn into DJI’s core chipset for all their Ocusync techniques now.
Leadcore Chipset In Autel and Herelink & Artosyn In Different Producers Alongside DJI, it has been discovered that Autel has additionally been utilizing the Leadcore chipsets of their drone wi-fi techniques, even the Herelink Pinecone S1 SOC was co-developed by Leadcore and Xiaomi.
Whereas others corresponding to Autel use Leadcore, Zero Robotics and Hollyhand use Artosyn chipsets with comparable functionally. It’s value noting although that DJI has been largely a step forward of everybody else and there’s clear historical past and a relationship between DJI, Artosyn and Leadcore that appears to have given DJI the sting over everybody else. So what does this all imply?
From a excessive stage, you possibly can have a look at this because the Chinese language state authorities tasked components of its wi-fi trade to create rival chipsets to the likes of Qualcomm for the home smartphone market. This has allowed Chinese language producers like DJI to realize a lot deeper entry to the LTE baseband modems used than we’ve got seen within the US and EU and this has allowed them to develop the system we see at present.
The query of who truly did the work will not be recognized however it’s probably with the clear relationship between all the businesses there was a couple of arms in it to develop low latency wi-fi techniques that go away the competitors standing. Right now we see chipsets from Artosyn such because the older AR8020 that seem to supply lots of what DJI has within the P1, and the newer AR8211 has extra performance with H265 and 4K30 capabilities.
These are what you would name off-the-shelf silicon nevertheless having access to these is way extra sophisticated than ordering from Mouser or Digichip. They’re very a lot stored out of the general public’s arms. It’s very attention-grabbing how these Artosyn chipsets have developed in recent times particularly since Leadcore as an organization appears to have publicly vanished, it’s very probably that there’s Leadcore DNA and IP in there. Did DJI rattle the US authorities?
A closing and attention-grabbing level on DJI on this topic is across the rumours that had been circling for a while that the discharge of the DJI FPV system coincides with the US commerce ban and there was speak that DJI was utilizing a US-based chipset and the US GOV was not proud of what that they had carried out and banned them. We now know that’s largely incorrect nevertheless I’ll add that we’ve got not seen something like what DJI has carried out with the LTE baseband modems within the West and whereas it is probably not a US chipset the unique LTE core IP origins have hyperlinks to Qualcomm and/or Ceva and it’s in no way past perception that what they’ve carried out rattled some cages within the US and EU the place this type of “tinkering” is essentially reserved for the army.
So what about Walksnail and Fatshark Dominator HD. Whereas we don’t know for positive the brand new Artosyn chipsets actually match the invoice the AR8211 has extra performance than the DJI P1 with H265 and 4K30 capabilities. I might not be shocked to see this or a variant of it on this system. We all know Artosyn is working with companions on FPV as they confirmed this to Joonas when he contacted them.
Ultimately, the easy actuality is DJI is just doing what they’ve at all times carried out and developed their system based mostly on others’ tech and IP, that’s what DJI is greatest at. They could be performing some customized implementation within the modem however it’s nothing magical. It seems to be like Artosyn is doing the identical and Avatar is utilizing that. If that is all of the case it’s not a replica or clone, it’s merely only a comparable implementation based mostly on the identical underlying expertise.
Last Notes. I need to say a large thanks to
Joonas to start with for the assistance, information and assist serving to put this collectively, moreover an enormous quantity of due to tmbinc and bri3d for all of the wonderful work they’ve carried out serving to us unravel this all.
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