WiFi board to pair with Matek FC for IoT functionality

Hi All - New micro custom build using the Matek H743 Mini FC, and we need WiFi connectivity. Are there any general guidelines for selecting a WiFi board to interact with standard protocols in Arducopter? The functioning I’ll try to execute will be flight control and camera activity.

Further - the controls that I will try to implement will be an experiment in integrating a platform like Blynk or Particle, or another similar IoT platform. We’re early in this development so still in the learning curve, but for sure we’ll need WiFi connectivity no matter which IoT platform we select. If anyone has any exerience with integrating one of these platforms with Ardupilot any tips or guidance would be welcome. Thanks very much.

Many use ESP8266 radios. I have them on most models. Short range of course so not sure they are suitable for your use case.

With a UART and MAVLink library, you open up a world of possibility (meaning that just about any companion board or computer could be useful). I’m a bit partial to the ESP32 for basic communication tasks.

I think the real question is, what is the application? It’s likely best to choose hardware based on the goal rather than compatibility with the autopilot (which is pretty easily achieved).

Hi Dave and Yuri and anyone else who can help clue me in - I’ve taken some time to become a bit more familiar with the options for WiFi telemetry to the FC and onboard sensors and actutors. Please tell me if you think I’m not clear on any of this - it’s a lot to take in. I see that ESP32 (or 8285/8266) is a popular chipset across the IoT, and there are different firmwares that can be used on ESP32 hardware. The chipset is readily available on many different development boards for ease of integration/mounting/wiring. I especially like the TinyPico for its size.
ESP32-CAM - These boards (various manufacturers) are attractive to tick a couple of boxes - camera + WiFi. But I don’t understand if an ESP32-CAM board could also be the receiver to receive/pass through flight control signals to the FC, whether it’s through SPI or CANBUS or other comm pin/port.

OK - many question marks to follow - these are all questions: Firmware - multiple available (not sure on this bit). I understand that Dronebridge is an example of a firmware (software?) for ESP32 hardware, and Mavlink would be a software used to communicate data from a handheld WiFi enabled device (i.e. smart phone) to and from the ESP32 equipped UAV. That is where I’m quite confused and could use some hand holding - so many questions about what does what (ESP32 chip firmware, Dronebridge, Mavlink, other?)
So, to the question of use case: We will use the camera equipped UAV short range (<20 meters). Communications will be to control camera function and basic flight maneuvers like take-off, return to land, hover in place, simple directional signals, follow a target based on facial/image recognition (custom coded of course). So flight control demands will be simple, and we will develop the handheld device (phone) app as the interface for control and funcionality command and data exchange communications using something like Blynk app development platform.
Hopefully I got some of this right, but any insights would be quite helpful. Thanks.

MAVLink is a messaging protocol that’s supported by ArduPilot, generally via a UART (serial port) to peripheral hardware.

If you’re interested in supporting WiFi video and MAVLink telemetry (that could include vehicle control commands) on the same microcontroller board, you’ll likely have to write your own firmware for the board, and if you’re interested in supporting onboard facial recognition, an ESP32 won’t have enough horsepower.

I think you’re “jumping in” point should not be deciding upon peripheral hardware today, but rather building and tuning a basic Copter with ArduPilot installed. Get it flying. Familiarize yourself with the ecosystem. Then add to it.