The new InDro Cortex: Amazing power in a tiny package

The new InDro Cortex: Amazing power in a tiny package

By Scott Simmie


The InDro Robotics engineering team, as always, has been hard at work. And we’re particularly pleased with our latest R&D breakthrough: The InDro command module, which we’ve named InDro Cortex.

It’s a small but exceedingly powerful box that will immediately enable robotic platforms to reach the next level. It’s robot-agnostic, meaning you can integrate Cortex with any ROS-based robot (which is pretty much all of them).

And what can it do?

A better question might be: What can’t it do? And the answer there is “not much.”

Below: An InDro Robotics Cortex mounted on a Unitree B2 quadruped. Cortex enables remote teleoperations, autonomous missions – and much more…

InDro Control Module ICM



There’s some important history here – which also tells you something about the InDro Robotics ethos.

In November of 2021, we released a very popular product. InDro Commander was developed in response to the needs of clients who wanted to be able to quickly turn a platform into a smart, easily customisable robot capable of teleoperation over 4G or 5G. From developers and academics through to large technology companies, our clients had been requesting such a solution. In fact, even in the development of our own products we identified the need for an all-in-one solution to speed robot integration and enable teleoperation.

“Our engineering team came up with the concept of the InDro Commander after integrating and customizing our own robots,” said Philip Reece, CEO of InDro Robotics, when the product was launched. “We realized there were hurdles common to all of them – so we designed and produced a solution. Commander vastly simplifies turning a platform into a fully functioning, teleoperated robot.”

Commander, as this webpage explains, “is designed to allow developers to quickly customize their own robotic solution. The following are common additions that can be easily added to any Commander-controlled robotic system: LiDAR (2D/3D), PTZ camera, thermal cameras, wireless charging, IMU, RTK.”

Commander, quite simply, takes the pain out of integration.

And how does it do that? Well, it ships with a powerful EDGE computer pre-loaded with ROS1 and ROS2 folders. It also contains multiple USB ports, allowing for the instant addition (and recognition of) pretty much any sensor you can throw at it. It allowed clients who were previously spending a ton of time on integration to simply attach Commander to the robot’s power supply, start plugging in sensors, and then remotely operate via a secure dashboard.

When it was first released, Engineering Lead Arron Griffiths dubbed it “ROS-in-a-Box.” We later changed that to Commander, but here’s the splashy video released at the time in advance of the big IROS show, where Commander made its debut:



At InDro, we have a motto of “Invent, Enhance, Deploy.” But deployment doesn’t mean we rest on our laurels. InDro’s engineers continuously look at ways to enhance existing products. And that’s exactly what we’ve done with Commander. We asked ourselves: How could we make this even better?

“InDro Cortex grew out of the idea of making a general purpose backpack/module that any OEM could put on their motorized product – everything from a ground robot to even a golf cart, drone, car, truck or RC platform,” says Engineering Lead Arron Griffiths. “That single module makes any platform ROS-enabled, AI-ready and 5G connected.”

A lot of work went into this. One of the biggest tasks was designing and developing four new boards that pack a lot of AI compute power (and other features) into a tiny space. There are separate boards for EDGE computing, teleoperation data transfer, and sensor integration. There’s also a separate WiFi system.

“And of course, it can run on either a public or private 5G network,” says InDro Vice President Peter King.

And did we say size matters? The small size of Cortex means it can be placed on virtually any robot – from the smallest quadruped to the largest AMR. It can even be fitted to a drone.

“It’s tiny so it fits on everything. So basically we can turn any platform into a very powerful robot without all the time and hassle,” adds King.

Below: Much of the magic of InDro Cortex lies in the design, development and testing of four new circuit boards:

InDro Control Module ICM



InDro Cortex is a powerful solution on its own. But pairing it with our new InDro Controller provides incredible synergy.

We just wrote a fairly comprehensive post about InDro Controller, so if you’d like more details you can check this out. But in a nutshell, InDro Controller is a powerful desktop UI for operating any robot. With a highly secure data connection, InDro Controller automatically senses all key parameters of any robotic device. It will automatically detect any sensors, providing a data feed from all of them with minimal latency.

“It can handle all sorts of data,” says Front-End Developer RJ Bundy. “It doesn’t matter if the robot has standard or custom sensors, InDro Controller can automatically detect and visualize them. For example, if you added a radar unit to an existing robot, the system will pick up on that immediately.”

InDro Controller provides the operator with a highly customisable dashboard for carrying out complex missions. It will also keep track of any missions manually carried out, and make them repeatable as autonomous missions.

And that autonomy? InDro has created two different autonomy software stacks. One is for outdoor missions that rely on GPS; the second is for indoor missions like SLAM in GPS-denied environments. That software comes with InDro Controller – and is also loaded onto the module. So the two key elements of this system – InDro Controller and InDro Cortex – have been made to operate seamlessly together.

Anyone should be able to configure and control Cortex for their product, and indeed, their solution,” says Griffiths.

Below: A look at the powerful InDro Controller UI dashboard. The Controller software has been created to be an ideal match for InDro Cortex and is easy to operate.

Teleoperations with Robots



We’re extraordinarily proud of the work our engineering team has put into Cortex – as well as InDro Controller. We believe these two, in combination, set a new bar for both robot integration and complex remote teleoperations.

“The design and creation of the boards used in Cortex was a significant technical challenge – and a significant achievement. The same can be said of our two new autonomy stacks,” says InDro Robotics CEO Philip Reece.

“Whether it’s a ground robot, a drone, or some other device that requires high processing power and minimal latency with all the features enabled by ROS, Cortex allows developers to quickly transform virtually any platform into a powerful autonomous robot with minimal effort.”

Interested in learning more? Of course you are. Contact our Head of R&D Sales, Luke Corbeth, right here.



New InDro Controller: A simple solution to complex robotics missions

New InDro Controller: A simple solution to complex robotics missions

By Scott Simmie


InDro Robotics – as always – has been hard at work on innovative new products. And we’re particularly proud of our latest accomplishment: The InDro Controller.

It’s an all-in-one solution for operating virtually any type of robot from a highly secure console. It’s completely robot-agnostic, very easy to use – and exceedingly powerful. We’ll get into the details as we go, but first let’s hear from Front End Developer RJ Bundy with an elevator pitch.

“It’s an all-in-one data visualization, robot management and robot control software,” he says. “Whether you’re a student first learning how to use a robot or you’re a commercial giant, you’d be able to manage and maintain all of your robots.”

He’s not exaggerating. We walked through a demo of this system recently, with Head of R&D Sales Luke Corbeth at the controls and Bundy explaining the various features. We connected remotely with one of our InDro robots. The software immediately detected all of the sensors on the platform, offering up a display of windows showing the data they were collecting with minimal latency.

“It can handle all sorts of data,” says Bundy. “It doesn’t matter if the robot has standard or custom sensors, InDro Controller can automatically detect and visualize them. For example, if you added a radar unit to an existing robot, the system will pick up on that immediately.”

Of course, it has teleoperation. Missions can be run manually or autonomously (with InDro’s autonomy stack loaded onto any ROS-based robot).

“We have a GPS-based autonomy – which is better for outdoors – and then we have a SLAM- (Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping) based autonomy which is ideal for indoors,” says Corbeth.

And while InDro Controller has very complex capabilities, it’s a snap to use.

“Once it’s set up, it’s pretty straightforward to initiate the mission. Even someone without any robotics knowledge could do it,” he adds.

Below: The Pilot View mode in InDro Controller. Data from any desired sensors is displayed with minimal latency via a highly secure connection.




Regardless of whether you’re a startup, researcher, or a major corporation collecting sensitive data – security is important. InDro Controller has been built with that in mind.

“We’ve created an interface that makes it very hard for a third party to intercept any of those commands or the data coming from the robot to you.”

Though the person controlling the robot is the primary login, others with a secure login can also monitor the missions remotely from anywhere in the world. The software can store as many repeatable missions as you can throw at it, and you can initiate a previously stored mission with a single click.




Mission planning could not be simpler.

For the first mission, the pilot would manually control the robot. InDro Controller uses an Xbox controller plugged into your computer for intuitive operation (though other options are available). All buttons on the Xbox device can be quickly mapped to carry out specific functions.

InDro Controller tracks everything you’ve done – and we mean everything – and saves it as a repeatable autonomous mission.

“If you manually drive the robot somewhere, it will remember it’s been there and it’ll be able to go back, follow that same path every time. It will also remember to carry out any specific actions you’ve taken at those points of interest, including camera angles, zoom, etc.” says Bundy.

The mission planner also automatically loads a map to locate your robot (you also have the option of satellite view), so you can monitor exactly where it is on any given mission.

And, of course, it can do this for an entire fleet of robots.

Below: InDro Controller shows Points of Interest – which can be repeated with saved missions

Robot Teleoperation



InDro Controller has been designed to allow users to easily customise the user interface for any robot, any mission, and any dashboard view. Multiple streams of data, including upload and download speeds, battery levels and overall robot health are available at a glance. Oh, and did we mention it also works with third-party autonomy stacks?

“The dashboard, the cameras, the heads up display on the autonomous missions – those all can be customised,” says Bundy. “We’re also adding other personal user customisations, like a light and dark mode, metric conversion, schedule missions – all the kinds of features you could want.”

InDro Controller already works exceptionally well. But – as with all of our R&D projects – it will continually be refined with additional features and functionality.

“We’re heavily invested in continuously improving the software,” says Corbeth. “So regardless of which version you’re shipped, know that this is something that InDro Robotics is constantly developing and improving with client feedback in mind to ultimately provide the best mission planning, teleoperations and development software tool in the robotics industry.”

Speaking of versions, there’s a simpler version of InDro Controller – which does not have the autonomy features – already being used for missions in the academic world. Feedback has been excellent.

“Users tell us they find it InDro Controller Lite exceedingly powerful, but also very simple to use. That was exactly our goal in developing this product,” says Corbeth.

Academics and corporate innovation groups could take advantage of the Lite version, while the InDustrial package is intended for solving more complex problems in an industrial environment




For Front End Developer Bundy, who oversaw this project with support from other engineering staff, it’s been a hugely satisfying – and challenging – project.

“A lot of the customization features were pretty difficult because it has to be robust and dynamic, which is always tough,” he says. “This is a relatively complicated application and I’ve managed to put together something pretty nice and functional – and it will only get better. “I’ve had a bunch of other help, but putting together the UI for InDro Controller has been, and continues to be, highly satisfying.”

Teleoperating Robots



We’re obviously excited about InDro Controller. And we’re particularly excited because we have a forthcoming piece of hardware – the InDro Module. It’s a small box with a lot of brains that can be added to any robot to increase functionality and enable the seamless addition of sensors and other modifications (as well as pre-loaded autonomy stack and ROS drivers). We’ll have more on that soon, but it’s the perfect match for InDro Controller for users with complex requirements.

For the moment, we’re looking forward to putting both the Lite and InDustrial versions into the hands of clients.

“When we first began remote teleoperation several years ago, we relied on third-party software as the UI,” says InDro Robotics CEO Philip Reece. “But we found it wasn’t powerful or customisable enough for our needs. It also required that we have our own autonomy stack – and we did – but many clients do not. InDro Controller comes with our proprietary autonomy stacks for both outdoor and GPS-denied locations. And, as noted previously, this is a long-term project, where even early adopters can be assured the package will be continuously refined with additional features.”

Word has already been spreading in the R&D and commercial fields about this product, and the feedback from those using the Lite version has been outstanding. Interested in learning more or seeing a demo? Contact Luke Corbeth here.