If you’re like most people who fly multi-rotor UAVs seriously for either business or pleasure, you probably end up on site with a ton of devices and equipment. You’ve probably got an FPV screen or goggles for your video downlink, a receiver for the video link, a laptop for telemetry and mission planning and another receiver for the data link, amongst other things.
Well ground stations are nothing new. They encompass some, or all, of this equipment along with some other nice-to-haves to make life a little easier, tidier and more convenient. Trouble is, you normally have to construct these things yourself out of whatever you can piece together, and if your electrical skills leave a lot to be desired, it can be downright dangerous given that it’s controlling your aircraft.
Well Horizon:51, the latest company to break into the commercial UAV market with its SkyOptix range, are soon to release their own ground station systems. They are currently working on two systems, the first being a pure FPV ground station comprising a Peli hard case, integrated 8” TFT screen, voltage monitor, diversity receiver (which is essentially two receivers in one which constantly compete to get you the best signal), and space for your essentials like radio Tx and spares.
The second system is little more advanced (to say the least). It comprises again of a Peli hard case, but mounted deep within is a Celeron based PC running Windows 7. (Shiz just got real!) On the top side of the case you’ll find a 10” TFT touch screen monitor for your viewing pleasure. And on the base side of the case is a mini keyboard and mouse pad for easier navigation around the pre-installed DJI Ground Station software. Other software can be pre-installed, or you can do it yourself. No more fumbling with a laptop!
What’s more, this system also includes a diversity receiver for your FPV downlink and this can be viewed on the 10” screen too, or separate screen if you like, as well as several other very useful utilities such as software that gives you data on airspace and NOTAMS. A must for the professional when planning a task.
As you’d expect from Horizon:51, the units are professionally built, pre-configured and will no doubt look pretty sexy too.
The ground stations are expected to be released by January. Pictures and prices are not available yet, but the second system is clearly not going to be for the weekend park flyer’s budget.
Horizon:51 are also interested to hear from users of any novel features they would like to see on a Ground Station, and are offering a 20% discount if your idea gets implemented. If you have a have an idea, go and post it first on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/horizon51.co.uk or tweet them @Horizon_51_UAVs.