In need of lots of Electrical Engineering advice for long distance flight

I am working on a project that is attempting to send a glider ~150nm to a GPS location and when the glider gets within 5 miles of the GPS signal, a new GPS signal would be transmitted to the autopilot to update in flight. None of our team members are Electrical Engineers, or any good at coding.
I need to know a couple of things:

  1. is this feasible?
  2. What would it take to make something like this happen assuming money wasn’t an issue?
  3. Our glider potentially will be equipped with a Pixhawk 4, 2 servos, GPS, some sort of high powered radio TX/RX, and some other ancillary devices for operations. Once the glider gets within the 5 miles, we need it to receive the updated GPS signal to re-route the glider to the updated position. Is this possible with the current technology?

Thank you for your help!


It depends a bit on how exactly you want to set it up but I think this is possible with the current PX4 codebase but it still requires some work to test and integrate everything. Depending on where you want to fly do not underestimate the work required to get the permission for such a BVLOS flight.

As a reference we did an approved BVLOS flight last year in Switzerland (video) where we used three different types of communication links:

  • Regular radio telemetry for short range communication
  • High rate LTE link over which we could send any command to the drone and even control it manually
  • High latency and low rate SatCom link where we got an update about the plane status every minute and could send a limited set of commands.

In our case we could change the vehicle mission in flight with the Radio and LTE link and not with the SatCom link. Using the latter we could just change the currently tracked waypoint. So if you know all the possible future waypoints you could use any of the mentioned links. If you determine the new position in flight then you would have to ensure having an active high rate link to the plane.