FPV control over 3G celllular connection

We developed a simple controller to pilot drones/cars/boats/etc. via 3G cellular connection, using a custom PCB on top of a Raspberry A+ with a camera.

Here is a video of test flight controlled via a 64Kbps cellular connection:

A view of the Raspberrry Pi "Hat":

The PCB in a prototype 3d-printed case:

All the source files, schematics and CAD files are open source and on github:

https://github.com/nfco/cellpilot

Any feedback would be welcome in order to guide the development of the project.

Anyone else interested in FPV control over cellular connection? If so, what setup are you now using?

Views: 5440

Comment by Rana on November 8, 2015 at 7:28pm

Hi David, there was another reason also and that is out of the 7500$ goal only 164$ were accumulated and very very short time left, I was quite confident that in so small time left out, the goal of 7500$ won't met, so that way also I decided to quit.

If you remember, around 22 days back, I suggested you to make a working prototype and make a nice presentation including few videos, which would have attracted lots of RC/FPV community but seems that was not considered and the result is infront of us.

Pls consider that again may be another campaign may be started with supportive things what I suggested long back and again suggesting again too. 

Comment by David Janssens on November 9, 2015 at 2:36am

I'm sorry that you quit, but let me give you an update on the status of the project:

There is already a working prototype, all the source code and design files of this prototype are open source and on github at github.com/nfco/cellpilot (not sure why you say there is no working prototype, you can even build it by yourself from the source files). But I agree that the presentation was too rough and a nice video would have made a big difference.

Because the campaign didn't reach the minimum goal, I decided to start working already on the next version of CellPilot instead of spending time and money on making a first production batch of CellPilot v1 or on adding more marketing material.

The objective of CellPilot v2 will be to be more "plug and play", no need for assembling a PCB on a Raspberry Pi etc., just plug it in your drone and it will be ready to fly. The CPU, RAM, NAND flash and all the sensors will fit in an existing 4x4 ABS box (so no need for injection molded box or 3d printing) and will use an Allwinner A20 processor, it will also include the camera and will be able to run standard APM software.

So the first step is for me now is to finish the CPU board. This board is also open-source (but not yet completed) and available here: https://github.com/nfco/tinycom. (I plan to use the same base CPU board not only for cellpilot but also for some other projects of my company)

Once I have a working prototype of CellPilot v2, I will make a new campaign and spend more time to make better videos and marketing material.

Anyway thanks for your interest and if you want to discuss it more you can also send me email (dj@netforce.com).

If you want to build a working prototype of CellPilot v1 I can also give you some help, but in all likelihood will not be able to make a production batch by myself.

Comment by David Janssens on November 9, 2015 at 2:57am

To DavidFost:

I never really considered to use the Edison processor instead of Raspberry Pi.

Instead, for CellPilot v2 I am using a custom CPU board based on an Allwinner A20 processor.

The reason I am not using Raspberry Pi anymore is because I want to push the size, weight and cost as low as possible (will also use it to fly mini quads). (the Pi has many peripherals not needed for autopilot that inflate the weight and cost) Making a custom CPU board also offers more design flexibility (can fit into existing casing, integrate sensors, etc.).

All the files for the new CPU board I am making are also open source, made with KiCad and on github (https://github.com/nfco/tinycom). (in constrast, the Raspberry is not really open source hardware because only the schematics are available, not the board layout and the chip used on the Raspberry Pi can not be purchased by anyone except the Raspberry foundation). For the new cellpilot, I want all components to be available for purchase from aliexpress at low quantities for only a few dollars.

So, even though I will not be able to produce CellPilot v1, I would still appreciate any other suggestions to take into account during development of CellPilot v2.

Comment by Rana on November 9, 2015 at 7:32am

Hi David, CellPilot v2 looks interesting as you said it would run the standard APM software, I would be interested in that too, wish you all the best.

Comment by DavidFolts on November 9, 2015 at 9:57am

David Janssens-

I'm looking forward to your CellPilotv2.  I agree that pushing size, weight and cost down are important goals of these "Piloting over Cellular" "black boxes".

Comment by Itsfishi on November 25, 2015 at 4:44pm

I am also very interested in v2. how is it going?

Comment by David Janssens on November 25, 2015 at 8:25pm

I already made the CPU board (tinycom-a13, you can follow here: http://github.com/nfco/tinycom) and will try to finish testing it this month.
After that I will make the controller board as a module that plugs in the CPU board (similar to the one I did for raspberry pi) and I think this will itself take a few months. (the time mainly due to the purchase lead time to order parts, produce PCB prototypes, etc., the design of the boards itself doesn't take so much time)

Comment by Anurag Pandey on May 15, 2019 at 5:49am

interersting

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