Hi all, thanks in advance for your help. I’ve never built a drone, but I have experience with arduino, rPi, do a lot of 3d printing and modeling etc, so I hope to succeed.
I’m writing to feel out the feasibility of my goal with ardu pilot. I’d like to make a Wi-Fi controlled indoor drone with video, that I can control from anywhere and view the video from. For example, I’m on vacation and I want to be able to remote into the drone, and pilot it to the kitchen to make sure I turned the stove off. I don’t care if there’s some other ground control unit in my home that I’m actually connecting to, or if it’s just over my mesh Wi-Fi directly. It doesn’t need to function outside it outside of the range of my wifi.
Is this a possible use case for this software?
Anyone? I just want to make sure some combination of ground control, software, and flight controller can do this before I get too deep in the build.
I’ts definitely possible from a remote control point of view, in fact it can be done already with a Skyviper 2450 for instance (see also this section of the wiki) , after allowing for remote access through router and network configuration.
The hurdle you’d have to overcome is a power issue: The drone would have to have battery power obviously for you to remotely takeoff. And leaving the drone in “stand-by” with battery connected would (depending on drone and battery) deplete the battery possibly sooner than when you’d like to remotely fly it. Perhaps one way to overcome this would be to use some sort of wireless charging as is available for phones. Or (you mentioned access to 3D printing, modelling, … ) come up with an electro-mechanical system capable of cutting the wired connection (no cutting of two wires at the same time!) from the drone to a charging station. That solution would only be a one flight only solution though.
Note also that since you mentioned a kitchen, you most probably wouldn’t have good gps reception so you’d have to fly in stabilize or altitude hold mode. You’d likely get quite of bit of lag from video so it wouldn’t be easy …
Please see if this RCGroups link to the EZ-WifiBroadcast system meets your needs. It uses channels in the wifi spectrum, but uses its own RF transceivers. The EZWFB system conveys HD video, RC controls, and mavlink telemetry all over single set of transceivers in the 2.4GHz wifi band. It uses Raspberry Pis, Picams or other Pi-compatible cameras, and common usb wifi adapters.
You can equip the setup to make ranges of several miles, but it certainly will work inside (but with potential interference from your wifi router). I’ve had great success with the system.
I don’t know of any system that uses your actual wifi router that integrates video, telemetry and RC control. You can get video and telemetry over regular wifi with a Navio2, but you still need a separate RC transmitter and receiver for control.
RC receiver requirement could be bypassed for control by using remote ground station though, with transmitter (like a Taranis with usb connection) configured as joystick to ground station to remote control drone through Internet/wifi/mavlink/proxying.
Olivier, thanks for your thoughts. For power, I will either use a wireless Qi charging solution and a dock, or an old fashioned metal contact dock with corresponding contacts on the base of the drone, a la roomba charging station. The lag will certainly be a concern, but if it can maintain altitude and take babysteps around the house to send video feedback on demand, I’d be happy. I don’t plan on doing flips in real time from far away, but just a surveillance on command, lets check if the door is latched, or the space heater is running, or the stove is on, or investigate the front door entry as reported by my contact sensors, etc. Frankly a lot of this is just to see if I can make it work haha.
Flyingw, thanks as well for your thoughts and recommendation. So with this setup, there’s an RC transmitter connected to my network in my home, and I can remote into that transmitter over my network? Then I can pilot the drone over the network, and view the video feedback? And if so, is there an android application that presents me with the video feed, as well as the ability to control the thing (touch screen joysticks?)
With the EZ Wifibroadcast system the transmitter is set to be a joystick controller only (no RF) that plugs into the ground-side Raspberry Pi.
You can watch the video on a big screen from the HDMI output on the ground pi, and also have a GCS like Mission Planner running for mission control.