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Hello everyone pls I want to know if a drone can be controlled via a 4g network. Using 4g towers. This could be beneficial in sense that, it can be remotely controlled from anywhere. Also transmitting the video and other sensor feedbacks via the network.

Fundamentally the drone will work on autopilot but monitored as it going with the 4g connectivity.

Any knowledge would be appreciated.

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  • $\begingroup$ I have seen some that out (or on the way) that will use 5G. I think the Parrot ANAFI works with 4G LTE. $\endgroup$
    – Kevin
    Oct 8, 2021 at 13:01

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There's a few components at work here - but what it boils down to is:

You need a LTE modem and a flight controller that can speak the same language

Look into LTE/4G modems and their outputs. If you can get one that outputs data over a serial/UART interface at anywhere between 9600 and 115200 baud, then you can send MSP to talk to inav/ardupilot/betaflight flight controllers and do mission control.

Finding that hardware might be difficult - those modems probably talk over PCIe or an ethernet link, and you'll need to run hardware that decodes (and can also drive) that data. I am not aware of any flight controllers that take ethernet or have a sufficiently large CPU to have a PCIe bus

Important to note that the latency will be significant and inconsistent. Video feed may not be good (you'll have to come up with some sort of protocol here, you can't pipe composite video into an LTE modem), so do this with a machine that you can trust to keep itself alive

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You may want to look into iNav FC software. It is aimed at autopilot-controlled waypoint flight (between GPS map markers), so there's no need to have an RC transmitter in range at all times. It already has support for configuration access via TCP, which is not exactly what you want (the drone will have to land every time you configure it), but pretty close.

Essentially controlling the drone via GSM can be done by remote editing waypoints without landing, which doesn't seem like a big change from what iNav alreayd implements. Maybe it's even there already.

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