Advice on how to setup a dual operator system in PX4 on Pixhawk? (One person controls flight and the other operates a 3 axis gimbal and records/takes stills.)

Hello! We are currently constructing a quadcopter as a case study to help combat poaching in several African reserves.

Due to the long distances in the park the control system is entirely run over wifi using a long range 5.2 Ghz antenna. We are currently using a Pixhawk 2 with a Raspberry Pi connected over serial as a companion computer. The Pi runs mavproxy and interfaces between qgroundcontrol and the Pixhawk running PX4. The quad is then flown directly from qgroundcontrol using a joystick (Xbox controller currently).

At this time we are trying to figure out how to connect a gimbal into this equation. Ideally the end goal is to have one operator flying the drone while another has a separate joystick to pan and tilt and control the camera.

I have had a hard time finding information about creating a dual operator system and would be greatful for any advice or helpful information.

I’m looking for something similar to this. One person controlling the quadcopter and another controlling the camera, is this possible using PX4?

I don’t think you can do it “out of the box”, but all the pieces exist to make it happen, we just need to bring them together. Could you expand on how you’d like this to work?

Do you use RC and a separate data link or would you want multiple joysticks connected to the same ground control station? Do you need to have a pilot controlling the vehicle while someone else is controlling the gimbal? What about the plane flying in auto while controlling the gimbal manually?

Could you expand on how you’d like this to work?
Yes, what we want is to have a camera operator that controls the camera and only that, he/she will be controlling the gimbal and also some other aspects fo the camera per se, like zoom, aperture, and all that.

Right now, the operators are used to the DJI way of doing it, and we want to expand upon that, but using PX4.
Currently DJI allows to have a separate controller connected to the same “ground station” and one controls the drone and another just the camera.

We want to see if it´s possible to do something like that out of the box, or do we have to modify the px4 to allow us such controls

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Going through the PX4 gimbal system you can send MAV_CMD_DO_MOUNT_CONTROL mavlink commands to position the gimbal. In that case the missing piece is mapping an additional joystick in QGC to send the command.

Hi all,

I have found the need for this capability in QgroundControl also and have not been able to locate a solution so I bumped the topic up. Apologies if I’ve overlooked something.

Has anything been done along the lines of mapping a second joystick or proportional servo controller for gimbal control in the PX4 flightstack?

I perceive the ideal scenario being something along the lines of the QGroundControl Ardupilot camera config firmware page perhaps simplified to include: gimbal 3 axis mapping, a 3 way toggle switch for zoom (in,out, stop) and single momentary for camera shutter or video record on/off.

Any additional input greatly appreciated…
(We have a fire monitor use case along the Thai Burma border via fixed wing)