I’m in the process of learning Dronekit, OpenCV and MAVProxy, since i want to use computer vision in my next drone for doing precision landing.
I know that you don’t actually need a flight computer on board to run scripts, and you can send it via telemetry radio. My plan was to use a USB video receiver to capture what the drone is seeing, and process it on my laptop.
My question is whats the benefits and drawbacks of doing it this, versus having a Raspberry Pi on the drone with a Pi cam.
Using a USB video receiver and processing the images on a laptop has its benefits and drawbacks compared to using a Raspberry Pi with a Pi cam on the drone.
Benefits of using a USB video receiver and processing on a laptop:
Cost-effective: Using a USB video receiver is cheaper than using a Raspberry Pi with a Pi cam.
Lightweight: A USB video receiver is small and lightweight, making it easy to carry around.
High processing power: Laptops usually have high processing power, allowing for quick and efficient image processing.
Flexibility: Using a laptop for image processing allows for greater flexibility in terms of software, as it can run a wide range of applications.
Drawbacks of using a USB video receiver and processing on a laptop:
Limited range: Using a telemetry radio to transmit data from the drone to the laptop has a limited range, which may restrict the drone’s operations.
Delay: The telemetry radio connection may introduce some delay in the transmission of data, which may impact the real-time performance of the drone.
Battery life: Running a laptop for extended periods can quickly drain its battery, requiring a continuous power source.
On the other hand, using a Raspberry Pi with a Pi cam on the drone has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.
Benefits of using a Raspberry Pi with a Pi cam on the drone:
Real-time processing: The Raspberry Pi can process images in real-time, providing immediate feedback to the drone.
No range limitation: There is no range limitation when using a Raspberry Pi with a Pi cam, as the processing is done on-board.
Longer battery life: The Raspberry Pi has low power consumption, making it a good option for use on a drone.
More reliable: Using a Raspberry Pi on-board is more reliable, as it eliminates the need for a telemetry radio connection.
Drawbacks of using a Raspberry Pi with a Pi cam on the drone:
Cost: Using a Raspberry Pi with a Pi cam is more expensive than using a USB video receiver.
Weight: The Raspberry Pi and Pi cam add weight to the drone, which may impact its performance.
Limited processing power: The Raspberry Pi has limited processing power compared to a laptop, which may restrict the type of image processing that can be done.
In summary, using a USB video receiver and processing on a laptop is a cost-effective and lightweight option, but it has range limitations, introduces some delay, and requires continuous power. On the other hand, using a Raspberry Pi with a Pi cam on the drone provides real-time processing, is more reliable, and has longer battery life, but it is more expensive, adds weight to the drone, and has limited processing power. The best option depends on the specific requirements of your project.