This is my second post in the series called "FlightZoomer 3 Innovation Previews". The first was this one: Maximized terrain awareness for drone pilots
The innovation highlight presented in the video above is the synthetic camera, that offers an FPV experience without many of the disadvantages of a classic FPV approach. In the video 10 advantages of the synthetic camera are listed and demonstrated:
- No video data transmission needed -> less hardware, less complexity
- Truly worldwide range if there is nothing more than 2.5G cellular connectivity
- Highly improved reliability
- Cut the Gordian knot of zero cost Full HD FPV
- Principally no yello, no shaking
- No fog, no clouds, no twilight, never night
- Adjust the viewing angle during the flight
- Adjust the camera tilt and yaw angle during the flight
- Manual snap back view direction control (MSBVDC :-))
- Integrated optional zero lag gimbal
Of course there are limitations too:
- Close to the ground the synthetic view lacks accuracy.
- 3D cities are limited, 100% world wide coverage is only offered as aerial image laid upon an 3D elevation model (which offers still remarkably stunning views, especially when cruising a bit higher)
- The scenery stays static. You cant observe non-static objects, like traffic, cars,...
The solution is implemented using the MapControl of the UWP programming stack. It offers a comprehensive API to place a camera over the 3D landscape at any place and specify all the parameter, that we need (including pitch and bank angle). B.t.w. this is also the reason, why this solution is not easily portable from Windows to Android or IOS (in fact not doable at all): the Android or IOS map API do not offer the needed capabilities for this feature. Google does not support to place a camera at all at a particular position and altitude and Apple does not support the combination of setting pitch & bank while using 3D maps with an aerial image.
An important detail is the possibility, to additionally feed the video from a real FPV camera into the app. The real camera view can be placed on top of everything else as a small, moveable and resizable overlay. This feature perfectly complements the overall package, FlightZoomer offers.