Advise on GCS Design and Choice of Joysticks

Hi all,

I am currently designing a two-operator GCS that will be used mainly for monitoring (e.g over qgroundcontrol, live video feed, and various data over 868MHz radio and LTE connection) drones on autonomous missions. In our application, especially at the testing phase, we will be working mostly with two drones simultaneously. I foresee that there might be an occasional need to manually fly the drones. I would prefer to do so via mavlink with joysticks connect to a computer rather than a direct radio link with a radio. The GCS will contain two 19 inch sun readable touch panel mounted in a long pelican case. A smaller 10 inch touch panel serves as an interface to control the various function of the GCS. I just have general questions -

  1. I am planning for the the transmitters and receivers for the various links to be housed outside the GCS. This is to for the use of directional antennas on trackers. This of course increase the complexity of the GCS. I am just wondering whether using directional antenna for 868 MHz and 2.4 GHz for wifi and 5.6 GHz really leads to a dramatic improvement in the working range? Or are there any case for integrating the radios in the GCS itself?

  2. What would be a good layout for the controls? Currently I have keyboard-trackpad combination to interact with the GCS. For drone control I was tending towards using two industrial joysticks such as these -

For maximum flexibility I am thinking of using two 3-axis joysticks. To operate the drones I would go with a normal mode 2 setup. The main issue I am facing here is due to the design of all these industrial joysticks, they are mostly auto centering with a spring around the column of the joystick. I have yet to find one that is auto centering in only the x-axis, leaving the y-axis for throttle control. I am wondering whether any of you have came across any industrial joysticks with this setup. The normal radio joystick may not work very well in case because the hands can’t wrap around like a normal radio and have them operated using just the thumbs.

Thank you.


Microsoft Sidewinder Precision Pro joystick. Discontinued but you can pick few from eBay :slight_smile: