Develop standard, re-usable inexpensive solutions for IP-enabled always-on UAVs over cellular IP networks such as GPRS, 3G, 4G etc.

Primary goal: Telemetry over low cost cellular [achieved in testing]

Secondary goal: Bi-directional GCS/Telemetry over cellular IP [achieved in testing]

Tertiary goal: High speed IP for streaming IP video over cellular 3G/4G

STATUS: Bi-directional telemetry over cellular IP (UDP or TCP) is now working. It has been flown successfully while logging live telemetry to a GCS at home, several miles away [distance is really unlimited]. Currently working on improving code, more testing and broader hardware support.

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  • Tommy,
    If the Pi is up to this then this is great news and a much cheaper option than the Gumstix I was looking at.
    I am in the process of writing a control library so my Arduino Mini Pro can receive PWM signals from a spare RC channel and translate them into VISCA commands enabling me to remotely zoom and focus my Sony block camera (12x optical, 8xdigital zoom).
    If the Pi can do all this then I could replace the Mini with a Pi to both encode and control the camera over the IP network. Presumable I could also send MAVLink waypoint commands over the same network and forward them on to my flight controller (APM2)?
    I was also considering broadcasting in low res to control and focus the camera but recording locally (toPi/Gumstix) in SD/HD for retrieval after landing.
    Please keep us posted!

  • My plan is to transcode the video by VLC (www.videolan.org) to 600kB/s at 18 fps in the Pi. This video quality is good enough for the HUD in Mission Planner.

    VLC: Official site - Free multimedia solutions for all OS! - VideoLAN
    VLC: Official site - Free multimedia solutions for all OS!
  • Forgive my ignorance but how are you actually planning on sending the video down this link? If its down a 3G network won't the video need 'packetizing'? If that's the case I would imaging a Pi would be woefully inadequate and you'd need something that can do hardware encoding like a Gumstix.
    One alternative I was looking at was to conventionally transmit video/telemetry to a ground control station and then have the GCS encode the video and rebroadcast it down a 3G link. Not the most elegant solution however :-(
  • If you wanna play with the Pi OS while you are waiting, just download an emulator for Windows here:

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/rpiqemuwindows/

  • I think the banwidth modem2modem is around 84kB.

    I will keep you informed during my progress with this Raspberry pi setup. Yes, both video and telemetry at the same 3g  connection.

  • Tommy, It's a great idea.Could you beam back both the video and telemetry using the 3g USB stick?

  • Tommy, from my original post this is what I wanted to achieve, but you are way ahead of me and probably much more capable of implementing it. Please keep me informed how you get on and if you can save me from reinventing the wheel I would be very grateful.

  • Has anyone tried to transfer a file using a direct modem to modem call? How low is the bandwidth? If the bandwidth is so low, i wonder how 3G video-calls take place.

  • Alan, my next goal is to use the Pi with a 3g USB stick. Connect the APM2 to the TTL UART on the Pi for Mission planner. and connect my Gopro to the Pi via a USB video capture device and stream this video via 3g. Until now i have used a 3g wifi router, but the Pi will replace this router.

  • You could call one of the modems from the other directly, but as far as i know, the bandwidth is very low.

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