OpenFPV Update 2 - Roadmap for 2015, Oculus Rift Support, 5GHz

I have worked hard in my sparse time to improve OpenFPV. I got a lot of mails from interested people around the world and can't wait to share the latest results with you. Your support is amazing, and my goal is to bring this project alive as soon as I can. Special thanks for all who donated a few bucks to the Project, every dollar helps me a lot.

A quick overview from the last month:

  • MinIMU-9 v2 Gyro, Accelerometer, and Compass test integration
  • Further latency optimisation
  • 160° Wide Angle Fish Eye Camera
  • 5 GHz transmission tests
  • Oculus Rift DK2 Support (experimental)
  • 720p at 40 FPS Tests
  • Source code re-structure
  • Optimised video rendering


  • The gyro integration works pretty good so far
  • Telemetry overlay works well with the gyro
  • The gyro data transmission works even if the video feed is broken (separated data channels)
  • The latency is is now stable over hours and pretty promising
  • The wide-angle camera does the job pretty good, nothing else to say
  • The new 5 GHz (diversity) adapter gave me really good results and is affordable (20 € each)
  • The Oculus Rift was mind blowing - The image is that big that I'm not able to describe
  • The source code is now better structured and modularised
  • 720p (1280x720) works good on the ground, not tested in the air


  • The CPU Load is to high on the ground station (20% / 400%, 640x480 H264, 2.3 GHz I7, MacOS)
  • No hardware decoding for the video stream
  • No Telemetry data for the oculus at the moment
  • No Fragment shader for Oculus Rift distortion
  • Bad weather in Germany

The Roadmap for 2015:

  1. Between January and February I will release a first access to the project. This version should be stable enough for testing.
  2. Between May and June I will release a updated version with improvements from the community
  3. I target August 2015 as a first "release*".

* what means release:

  • Easy to install
  • Documentation
  • Download a Ready To Fly image for the raspberry
  • Maybe sell a complete setup online (amazon)

(Please note that all dates are in subject to change, depending on issues, bugs, time)

Some pictures from the lab:

Me holding a prototype with 5Ghz diversity, 160° fish eye camera. I can even write messages on my phone trough the oculus live feed with this setup. Can't show you how it looks like, but all who tested it in my lab are amazed.

Screenshot from the oculus mode. *Note the missing fragment shader for the rift distortion, this is not 3D (but possible in the future, you will see a huge 2D screen in front of you)

The prototype with attached 5Ghz adapter watching birds.

I have no in flight footage yet, the main reason is the bad weather here. But I will do some recordings, pictures if the weather is a bit better and I have enough time and a working drone / plane*, you have my word.

* My last plane crashed and destroyed one OpenFPV Setup while testing


- First release for developers between January and February 2015

- First "consumer" release summer 2015 (maybe later)

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or write me:



Views: 10418

Comment by Ye Wang on December 7, 2014 at 11:21pm

great project!

Comment by Quadzimodo on December 8, 2014 at 1:01am
Exciting stuff!
Comment by Jonek on December 8, 2014 at 1:41pm

Hi Tillman. OpenFPV is a great project! I am curious, have you conducted range tests of your WiFi video transmission on the ground? What was the range you achieved with your current WiFi board? What kind of WiFi interface do you use on the receiver side? Have you tried to use a directional antenna on the receiver side? What is the latency you achieve with your current setup? How do you measure latency? How does video transmission perform when your flying system comes close the the range limit of your video transmission? Is the codec / the video link able to perform some kind of graceful degradation?

Comment by Hugues on December 8, 2014 at 3:33pm

What shall be the expected max range ? How is the radio link resilient to interferences (what technique)?

Comment by Jake Stew on December 8, 2014 at 8:25pm

If you keep increasing the link frequency you can probably accomplish even further range reductions!

Comment by John Moore on December 9, 2014 at 10:26am

Im also curious about what youre using on the receive side, hardware/software.

Comment by bocorps on December 9, 2014 at 10:28am

@Tilman, seems your adapter is dual band (2.4/5Ghz) but not diversity.

Comment by Tilman Griesel on December 9, 2014 at 11:16am

Thanks to all for the good and justified questions. I try to answer all as good as I can.

@Jonek Thanks, my last range tests were made with a 2.4 GHz setup. I achieved 3000 meters line of sight, anyways my goal is around 500 meter or a bit more. I know that it is not easily possible to get a higher range. I have not tested the 5 GHz adapter yet, but I will do it as soon as I can. The WiFi interface is a Ralink chip. I posted the model before. Yes I tested a directional antenna and got good results with 2.4 GHz. The latency is round about 130ms sometimes better sometimes a bit worse. I work on latency issues currently, it is a lot of fine tuning. I measure it currently NTP and timestamp overlays. The video links sometimes freezes but recovers fast, another thing is if you loose the link, the reconnect takes around 1-2 seconds sometimes. I will add a system to give you acoustic signals if you get to far away in the future. I have not implemented graceful degration yet, but I have plans to integrate that. Maybe not in the first version but it is on my ToDo list. I hope I answered all questions.

@Hugues As mentioned before round about 500 meters, but I have to test to give a valid answer to that point.

@Jake Stew I know that a 5GHz link will reduce the range, but you are able to choose your own adapter and switch to 2.4 GHz. I try 5 GHz to get rid of some interference with my 2.4GHz RC control.

@John Moore I mentioned the hardware before, the software is based on gstreamer (I'm in contact with some gstreamer devs) H264 codec (hardware accelerated encoding on the Tx side) and a software that I'm working on the Rx side. The Rx software is based on gstreamer but using WebGL for displaying. It is easy to add or remove features and visualise telemetry data. The Telemetry data transmission is separated from the video stream but on the same wireless link. The idea is that everyone without deep C++ knowledge should be able to modify or extend the setup. The whole system should cost less then 120$ without VR hardware.

@bocorps I thought that too but it is diversity. I got two separated signal strength indicators inside the software and I run it on 5.8 GHz only. I was not able to figure that out from the amazon product description but after testing it it seems to me that it is diversity. I attached a screenshot for clarification. Where did you discovered this information?

To get the reason for OpenFPV a bit more clear. I don't say that traditional FPS systems are bad or this approach is better. OpenFPV will be not reach the capabilities of the current systems in the next year and this is really clear to me and all others who develop with me. But it is the first time that is can be done for a low budget. It overs new possibilities and it is for all people who are discoverers of new worlds. We can make use of HSDPA for example, easily extend things and experiment with new hardware. There are a lot of things we can do in the future on this research and testing. Maybe it will take a wile but I will push it as long as it needs, even if it is for years. I'm very thankful for every question, compliment and critique.


Comment by Tilman Griesel on December 9, 2014 at 11:17am

Comment by bocorps on December 9, 2014 at 4:25pm

Hi Tilman, you must be right, i just read that this adapter is MIMO. That CLS looks way better than Alfa AC1200. Do you know how much Amps your adapter draw ?

I am actually on a similar project but i bought a Ubiquity Rocket M5 as air adapter. Possibility to get telemetry from Pixhawk appealed to me. Now, maybe i will have to try your setting to get rid of all those heavy RJ45 connectors :-)


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