Companion Computers travel on the vehicle and communicate with (and control) the autopilot. The Companion Computer gets all the MAVLink data produced by the autopilot (including GPS data) and can use it to make intelligent decisions during flight. This enables a broad range of functionality, from computer mediated flight paths, though to very CPU intensive functionality such as vision processing.
The term “Companion Computer” is typically taken to mean an on-board Linux-based computer that communicates with the autopilot over a fast link using MAVLink messages.
Using a Companion Computer is an alternative to using a fully integrated Linux autopilot.
See Companion Computers for specific documentation.