4.1.1       Operation with 3rd party radio

 

This system topology is interesting for users, who already have a radio telemetry setup. Even though internet access is not needed for air-to-ground communication, the cockpit app still needs internet access (e.g. via a tethering hotspot) to support the synthetic FPV view or to fetch terrain elevation data (offline operation without these features is possible though).

System topology using 3rd party radio telemetry:

What is needed?

Specifications

Restriction

Optional

Airborne Vehicle with ArduPilot flight controller + RC system

For multicopter: Configured and (auto"‘) tuned to properly fly in Loiter mode

ArduCopter 3.3 or higher

Mandatory

For planes: Configured and (auto-) tuned to properly fly in Cruise mode. Altitudes should stay within +/- 3...5m

Arduplane 3.7 or higher

Mandatory

3rd Party Telemetry System

Any telemetry system, that is connected to the cockpit device via COM Port can be used, e.g. RFD 900, Ultimate LRS or Dragonlink

Connection only via FTDI-adapter

Mandatory

Computer to run
the Cockpit-app

The Cockpit-app is a Windows Store app, that runs on any Windows 10 Tablet, Notebook or Desktop computer. Mid- to upper-class performance is preferred.

Mobile is not supported (as the screen would
be too small)

Mandatory

Tethering hotspot

Any mobile handset, that can provide internet access via a WiFi hotspot.

Needed only if the cockpit app is operated outdoors.

-

Recommended

FPV camera + receiver + UVC video capture

Any FPV camera and FPV radio transmission product, that can feed its output via a Video-S-to-UVC capture device into the cockpit device

-

Optional

Microsoft Surface Dial

The FlightZoomer autopilot optionally can be controlled with the Microsoft Surface radial controller

-

Optional

 

Using 3rd party radio telemetry offers the following advantages:

No cellular connection between aircraft and ground needed.

Minimal hardware footprint, FlightZoomer runs only on one device.

Low complexity.

 

The following restrictions apply:

Range limitation of the 3rd party product

No possibility to use the camera of the onboard smartphone.

For the tethering hotspot still one mobile phone contract and cellular network coverage is needed. Operation of the cockpit app without internet is possible, but several features will not be available (terrain data and synthetic FPV).

No extended onboard fail-safe capabilities. A dropping communication bus means immediate fallback to ArduPilot failsafe mechanisms (recommended is RTL due to telemetry loss).