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Using a second drone to boost video range

outermagnolian

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[NB: I'm just throwing this out there, because I lack the engineering prowess to pull this off as a modification.]

Imagine having a small, second drone whose job is to park directly above you at your flight ceiling and RELAY control and video signals from you to your primary drone and back again. At 400 feet, the line of sight from the relay drone to the primary would be vastly improved; range would be extended even in short-range situations where hills, buildings, or trees obscure line of sight to your primary drone.

Obviously relaying signals is a complete re-engineering feat for this "slave" drone. Maybe the whole data transmission system would have to be designed from scratch. But then again it might be closer to reality in the hands of a talented engineer. I sincerely hope we see this in a future generation of flying cameras.
 
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wytnyt

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wouldnt be practical since battery power is limited.
 

dagwood

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That is very possible with a specialized drone. In fact, since the relay drone is only flying up, it can be flown with a wire so it doesn't need batteries and can stay up for very long periods of time. Some security areas already do this for surveillance.

The problem I foresee though, is that it implies you won't have visual line of sight to your drone which, I think, is against the law. I don't think that law is strictly enforced, but manufacturers tend to limit their drones to within legal limits. Kinda like how DJI won't let you launch your drone when you're near an airport.

I can see this very plausible outside of hobbyist or standard commercial use such as government use during emergencies, or permitted commercial use. Then again, there's not much money there, so again, I don't think manufacturers would jump on it.

The military can have a high demand for it... but there's some ethic involvement on how they'd use it.
 

dirkclod

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Mavflyer

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Another idea would be maybe some type of retractable pole setup, that way you dont have to use a second drone. You wouldnt be able to go nearly as high, but you would get some of the benefit without having to worry about another drone, batteries, etc.
 

macoman

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It will be more practical and reliable if it's a tall antenna that can transmit the signal to the drone... I believe there are products already on the market that can do this.
 

neggy

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Jesus H Christ, how far away are people planning on flying these things?

Even if you could set up a repeater, how far away ( and back) do you think you are going to get with a sUAV before you run out of battery?

And then there is that whole VLOS thing...

Really... you need to fly 6 miles out?

If you need to be doing that type of work, you need to be doing it from a helicopter with a video downlink
 
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Mavflyer

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Jesus H Christ, how far away are people planning on flying these things?

Even if you could set up a repeater, how far away ( and back) do you think you are going to get with a sUAV before you run out of battery?

And then there is that whole VLOS thing...

Really... you need to fly 6 miles out?

If you need to be doing that type of work, you need to be doing it from a helicopter with a video downlink
People fly these things out of LOS all the time. DJI knows this and that's why they keep making them able to fly further and further out. 1 mile, 3 miles, 10 miles...it's all the same really. All out of LOS and pretty much unable to react to other aircraft effectively. I'm guilty. Cant say that I'm not. It's fun and I'm as safe as I can be. Dont know what else to say lol
 

wytnyt

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im lucky,my eyes let me see over trees and most other objects,its up to them to prove i cant.:confused:
 

JoostGT3

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[NB: I'm just throwing this out there, because I lack the engineering prowess to pull this off as a modification.]

Imagine having a small, second drone whose job is to park directly above you at your flight ceiling and RELAY control and video signals from you to your primary drone and back again. At 400 feet, the line of sight from the relay drone to the primary would be vastly improved; range would be extended even in short-range situations where hills, buildings, or trees obscure line of sight to your primary drone.

Obviously relaying signals is a complete re-engineering feat for this "slave" drone. Maybe the whole data transmission system would have to be designed from scratch. But then again it might be closer to reality in the hands of a talented engineer. I sincerely hope we see this in a future generation of flying cameras.
Regardless of whether you should want it, I absolutely like the idea!
 

lmel2005

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A secondary RC, can increase the mp's range, if someone takes control of the drone, a few km away.
 

skan

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I was thinking exactly the same :)
 

wanderer

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Imagine having a small, second drone whose job is to park directly above you at your flight ceiling and RELAY control and video signals from you to your primary drone and back again. ...
Yep, we did this a couple of years ago as part of a company IR&D project. Used an X8 octacopter as the "Relay" drone and a modified Phantom 2 as the "Scout" drone. With the Relay drone parked up high, we were able to fly behind tall buildings and through hilly terrain-- areas unreachable with just a single drone. The Relay drone relayed both the control and the FPV video signals. Put the whole system together with just COTS parts so it wasn't very expensive. Short video: