FPV in the 360degree camera era

We know that flying your drone in First Person View (FPV) mode is not permitted in the UK because you can’t see as much as you could from an aircraft, i.e. to sides, up and down etc.
However, if fitted with a 360degree camera like the Samsung Gear, you could see BETTER than from an aircraft because you could see everywhere (including behind) without any window frames to obscure your vision and cause blind spots.

So could 360degree camera-equipped drones be excluded from the requirement to have a spotter?

Paul that’s pushing it bit don’t know if the technology for consumer products is up to that yet only if you have a USAF drone that is
Think of the bandwidth needed for the video alone.

Fpv is allowed in the uk!

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Also, technically, the DJI’s are also fpv, with the phone / tablet screen. So your not constantly looking at the drone.

The technology is here and the bandwidth is OK. CHeckout this link on YouTube(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14O7AxqjiVY) and just move around the screen with you mouse. If you have a VR headset you just turn your head to face the direction you want, even up and down.
Therefore, there is no longer a reason for the requirement of a spotter if one of these cameras is fitted to the drone…

This is true. My goggles have head tracker capability. So a camera on a gimbal with motors is very feasible. But it’s awkward for freestylers. It would be useful for dji’s. You could see your shot in the goggles instead of a phone screen. No one likes the vlos rule!

ALmost but not quite!
The Samsung Gear 360 is a 360 degree camera, no motors required so it’s instant. You turn your head, and your view is in that direction, instantly.

FPV racing would be interesting using these but their physical size is a bit limiting at the moment.

I think I need to bring in lag to this conversation…

The bitrates required for digital signals are massive and as soon as you change to digital you introduce this lag. Dji has a very noticeable lag on its downlink feed.
In the fpv world when travelling at 80mph (which is pretty standard) the lag in video from a digital system is the difference between hitting a tree and flying over it upside down looking cool!

So digital video feed

Cam—>digital encoder—-> video transmitter—>video recover—>digital decoder—->display

This is how the connex pro sight worked (so far the best fpv digital system) but the lag is massive compared to our analog stuff which doesn’t have the digital rubbish.

Now my example above is just for a basic square image. To add in a full 360 real time image just won’t work. The more data required the more bandwidth.

Hd fpv is kind of a holy grail but I doubt we will see it in our lifetime


The spotter is there to ensure your flight is safe in related to outside obstacles you can’t see.

It’s very hard when flying to know exactly where you are in a space spotters provide you that information.

So no 360 cams won’t remove the need for spotters


Joshua explains the problem wayyyyy better than I can


Sorry but I beg to differ. If the delays for FPV racing are good enough to fly through hoops, then I’m possitive that the increased all round vision from a 360degree camera is more than compensation for very slight delay in transmission. There would be plenty of time for making flight adjustments to avoid in air conflicts.

We can carry on with the current restrictions if you want but the CAA want to impose rules on us that more closely resemble men carrying red flags in front of cars at the moment.

Fpvracers are all using analog. Connex do a digital system and at i series about errrm 3 years ago it was tried. The results were that every single pilot preferred analog for latency. Digital and fpv just doesn’t work! The lag is notable and distracting

As to the caa rules… even if we magically overcome the lag issue and manage to reduce latency to the point that a 360 cam becomes viable we will still need spotters because you still can’t look in all directions at once and maintain control of the aircraft.

Have you flown fpv?


Look at it this way. I have a foxeer predator v3 and it’s latency is about 7ms. I also have a onepaa split cam. This one will record in hd, and it has an analogue tv out for fpv which is approx 40-60ms latency. I tried it in fpv and it just really destroys the realism. You feel disconnected. 40ms may not seem a lot, but it’s very noticable.
The best hd fpv has a latency of around 70 to 100ms. It’s hard to get accurate figures, but it’s multiples higher that analogue.


The reason FPV drones need spotters is because, unlike an aircraft pilot, they can’t look to the sides or around them. Not because they can’t look in all directions at once because a pilot of any aircraft that can do that has yet to be found!

You’re correct about the latency though. The 360 image is sent in it’s entirety and could be sent using analogue radio but would need more bandwidth. The orientation of the image shown to the user is determined by the user’s monitor orientation and this selects the part of the image to be viewed. It might be that we’re not there yet but we must be very close to it with improvements in video compression techniques.

So guys here’s something to wet your appetites. Midway through he takes you on a 360 degree journey with a 4" rapid FPV. https://youtu.be/HhXeQ6PYfQU