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I'm working on a project involving using a quadcopter for surveillance. For that, I need a live video feed, that will be transmitted wirelessly to a ground control system. The live video feed needs to have 2 main qualities:

  1. Decent video quality (at least 480p30fps equivalent or better), as it will be used to detect various features using computer vision.
  2. Low latency as it will also be used for controlling the drone.

Currently, I have an FPV system involving a setup similar to this with an FPV analog transmitter, receiver, and an FPV camera. The latency is not an issue with it, but the video quality is simply not good enough for image processing.

I am thinking of somehow replacing the analog camera with something that will provide better-quality video without compromising latency too much (and preferably cheap). I'm thinking of action cameras for their decent video quality and lightweight and compact build.

I'm looking at relatively cheaper action cams that, if can be transmitted wirelessly with low latency, are good enough for my purpose. So here are my questions:

  1. Is there any way I can connect an action camera (similar to the one mentioned earlier) with an FPV transmitter (similar to the one mentioned earlier)?
  2. Will the system be feasible in terms of latency and video quality?
  3. Are there any low-cost alternatives to the setup with similar video quality, compact and lightweight build, and latency feasible to use on a quadcopter?

So far, I have come across this video tutorial for connecting a GoPro with an FPV transmitter but I'm not sure if this will work with the cheap action cams as I couldn't find any good documentation.

I am aware of a solution that involves using my current FPV system for live controlling and using an additional camera to record video of the surveillance area that can be later used for processing. Although it works and is a rather common build in the FPV drone community, a live feed is of greater advantage, and sometimes necessary for my purpose.

I'll be grateful to have some advice or opinion on how I can achieve a decent enough live video feed. Feel free to share your thoughts. I'm open to discussions. Thanks for your time. Cheers!

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The video stream produced by an action cam is too high-bandwidth to be sent over the sort of radio link that is available to a hobby pilot.

There are a number of HD FPV systems now, but they're still not as detailed as an action cam. They're mostly 720p. They use dedicated hardware to compress the video stream with minimal latency. DJI is probably the market leader, but their system is quite proprietary and doesn't have a real-time HDMI-out feed (which I presume you need).

However I think the WalkSnail system does output real-time 720p over HDMI.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! I'll look into the system you mentioned. Actually, the system doesn't necessarily have to have an HDMI-out feed; a VGA output (I'm assuming that's the standard output from a generic FPV transmitter) is fine as long as the receiver has a USB interface and can be used with a smartphone or a laptop. The problem here is the video quality, which is barely workable. I guess I'll have to move to a digital FPV system for higher bandwidth. $\endgroup$
    – shawbicc
    Oct 17, 2023 at 16:58

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