I'm about to build my first drone. I chose the PixHawk 4 with PX4 as a flight controller and the Raspberry Pi Model 3B as the companion computer.

I am not sure about the ESCs yet. So far I'm considering the Turnigy MultiStar 30A BLHeli-S Rev16 V3 ESC 2~4S (Opto), since a 30A rating should be enough for my planned setup. I will use the PM07 power module provided with the PixHawk 4.

I do not want to manually fly the UAV, but let the companion computer take full control. Is that possible? Would the ESCs let me do it?

As in the manual of most ESCs, a connected receiver/remote control is necessary for calibration. How would I go about it to make my drone/ESCs flight-ready without a receiver/remote control (QGroundControl or other software?). Do you know some specific ESCs that are well suited for my task or can all ESCs potentially do it?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hey, welcome to Drones.SE! This feels like a combination of several separate questions, which makes it hard for us to answer concisely. Maybe consider boiling your question down to one or two core/essential issues you're facing. $\endgroup$
    – ifconfig
    Nov 11, 2021 at 1:33
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    $\begingroup$ @ifconfig thank you for the hint. I tried to make my issue/question more precise. $\endgroup$
    – H123321
    Nov 11, 2021 at 19:51

1 Answer 1


A bit of background information may be appropriate here.

The ESC stands for Electronic Speed Control. This device takes a signal from the flight controller (usually PWM) and provides power to the brushless DC motors. One ESC is required for each Motor.

The ESCs, the Motors and the Battery need to be 'compatible' in order to operate properly. In general the desired size and weight of the drone would be used to determine these parts along with the propellers required.

Short Answers to Implied Questions

  1. The ESC has nothing to do with manual vs automated flight. They control the speed of the motors.
  2. The receiver/remote is Required to operate the drone
  3. QGroundControl can help setup the PixHawk, ESC, etc.
  4. QGroundControl can create autonomous flight plans but a remote is still required by the Flight Controller.
  5. A GPS unit would be required for autonomous flights

Some setup and testing can be done without a remote but it would take custom software to fly without one.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much for your answer Kevin! Still I have some questions left: If I just want to fly the drone indoor autonomously, cotrolled by the companion computer based on visuals delivered by an on-board camera, I still need a remote control in that case? I guess I need to write custom software for the companion computer so it can evaluate the camera frames and then send commands to the flight controller to actually move the drone. Or is that not possible at all? $\endgroup$
    – H123321
    Nov 12, 2021 at 22:40
  • $\begingroup$ Most (all?) flight controllers would want to "see" a remote before they will operate. You don't have to use it, it just has to be on and working. The PX4 is open source software so you could modify it to remove that and put in your visual guidance system. $\endgroup$
    – Kevin
    Nov 15, 2021 at 14:01

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