The Raspberry Pi SWaP-C Revolution: Driving Battlefield IoT
Published in Military Embedded Systems
Written by David Jedynak
For more than ten years, the educational, industrial, and hobbyist markets have embraced the small-form-factor Raspberry Pi single-board computer (SBC) as a preferred low-cost, low-power tool that lowers the barrier for deploying intelligence and connectivity just about anywhere that imagination directs. The result is a ubiquitous platform, with more than 45 million units sold. Today, these tiny cards are helping to make the Internet of Things (IoT) concept a reality.
Meanwhile, Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2), the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) vision for the netcentric battlefield, scales all the way from the cloud – making all data sharable – down to the ground level where that data needs to be collected and distributed.
The JADC2 goal is for all platforms to be intelligent and connected to the network using a Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA). That directive requires cost-effective solutions in a form factor that can operate way out at the tactical edge. Such applications often require a fully integrated rugged mission computer built with OpenVPX cards. In a lot of cases, however, a “good-enough” level of processor performance and I/O feature set is all that’s needed. For size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C)-constrained applications, a military-grade Raspberry Pi-based mission computer defines a whole new class of solution for intelligence and connectivity at the tactical edge.