Cellular Telemetry + APM + FPV in a Aircraft

Right. Im not sure if what I am going to (try) explain will make sense to you but I am going to try and put it as how I would like it to work.

So in the past few days a thread was posted in the Cellular Telemetry group of the forum (http://diydrones.ning.com/group/telemetry-over-cellular-ip/forum/topic/show?id=705844%3ATopic%3A1106388) which showcased a new cellular module which is a Arduino shield giving a 3G internet connection where available. The topic says that this could be a viable replacement for the Xbee which you might know is a RC Telemetry module. Thing is the Xbee is limited by the range of the transmitter to the receiver where as this module could allow you to have 2-way telemetry where ever you have cellular coverage. So you could be on a computer in America and be controlling a UAV in Switzerland. By using this with an ArduPilot you could have a remotely operated RC plane that could fly for miles by using the ArduPilot to set a predetermined route and keeping a telemetry link and possibly a FPV camera link at all times, whatever the range.

Just to clarify this wouldn't be using the connection to control the aircraft but being able to receive live telemetry and a video feed. Also being able to change the flight plan midflight and auto-land might be nice as well.

The only 2 problems I can see with this is;

1) If you loose cellular coverage you would have no telemetry connection and if you are far away you cant exactly go driving around with an antenna out the window searching for a connection. To get round this there would have to be a fall-back. I thought that you could use a map of cellular coverage in the area and have the plane divert to the nearest, dense, coverage area. This could also be helpful for the future at mapping of cellular strength whilst in flight could then be Geo-Tagged in order to be used by future pilots to create a flight pan avoiding these areas.

2) The Law.... I haven't studied the law in the USA on where and when you can use drone but by having a drone that can be controlled up to miles away with LOS could be a problem. I know in the UK I always stay within LOS just incase of a crash. Now there isn't really a solution for this as the current law isn't very lenient towards RC pilots and long range flight. The only thing I could think of is to have a parachute system.

I know this probably years from being viable, and legal, but this would be an extremely useful alternative and having the much greater range would be far better than a Xbee.


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