I´d like to introduce my project of a smartphone based telemetry and navigation system called FlightZoomer.
Other than (almost?) any existing system FlightZoomer differentiates as follows:
- There is one smartphone onboard the copter/plane (= the companion computer is the phone)
- Another smartphone is used as glas-cockpit (groundstation)
- Focus on realistic flight instruments, navigation systems and auto flight systems (modelled after the Boeing 787 cockpit). This means:
--- Glas cockpit with PFD (Primary Flight Display) and ND (Navigation Display)
--- Navigation database with fixes, radio beacons, airports, runways
--- Radio navigation
--- Instrument Landing System ILS
--- Realistic Flight Management System for flight planning
- Synthetic voice output for co-pilot simulation
- Transmission 100% based on cellular networks
- Supports (performance) flight test
- The onboard smartphone is coupled to an APM based flight controller via MAVLink (over bluetooth)
- Sensor data is fed to the groundstation primarily from the flight controller, though fallback modes to the phone's own sensors are also supported
- Latency typically < 0.1s
- No video or image stream (< this strongly reduces bandwidth and latency issues)
- Communication between the airborne smartphone and the groundstation runs via a Relay Server
- The Relay Server can run unattended as Windows desktop application at home
- The solution is 100% software, all hardware comes off-the-shelf
- The phone apps run on Windows phone
The project started two years ago and for the longest time focused on a standalone system that only relied on the phone´s sensors. This was the initial idea and I was able to make it fly though serious constraints remained (non consistent accuracy overall, unusable compass, strange attitude sometimes, GPS overall marginally).
Therefore I decided to mate the phone with the flight controller. So currently a prototype with an AUAV X2 is in flight test, and the results are amazing (compared to the standalone operation). That way I came in touch with the ardupilot community so consequently I also joined diydrones. So here in that I can introduce FlightZoomer to you. I am also curious what would you think about FlightZoomer...
While version 1.0 was the standalone system which was never released, I plan to release version 1.5 (with the MAVLink interface over bluetooth) in the coming months.
There are also a lot of ideas for further releases to improve the underlying premise (recreate the experience of dealing with "real" aircraft systems):
- More voice features (e.g. extend the role of the virtual co-pilot, test flight director, maybe even ATC)
- Recreate the autoflight modes of the 787 100%
- Extend the features of the Flight Managment System
- Maybe add additional cockpit hardware to the groundstation (modeled after a real cockpit)
- 3D terrain
(The flightzoomer website currently still covers version 1.0)
I was educated as electronics engineer, studied Electrical Engineering and worked in professional software development ever since.
The onboard app:
The Flight Managment System (real 787 vs. FlightZoomer):