I am an amateur enthusiast and a novice, thus please bear with me.

I was having the look at the http://www.proxdynamics.com/products/pd-100-black-hornet-prs drone. It weighs 18 grams and is able to transmit HD quality videos for up to 25 minutes.

From the looks of it the maximum size batter it can contain is 500mAh. With such a small battery, even if we ignore the energy requirements of other sub-systems, how can it capture, encode (in 720p, H.264 format), and transmit the video even theoretically.

What sort of physical encoders can encode such a video, and the transmitters can transmit such a high quality digital video over such a long range (requiring so much bandwidth).

I cannot make any sense of it (even theoretically) of such components with such energy requirements. Could someone please be kind enough to point out, what might be going on that i am missing?

  • \$\begingroup\$ That site nowhere says its HD video \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Dec 8 '16 at 13:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ "The Block II’s new cameras have better optics, a higher resolution and more sensitivity than the previous version. The resolution is increased from VGA (Video Graphics Array) to HD (High Definition) " truppendienst.com/themen/beitraege/artikel/… \$\endgroup\$ – TheoryQuest1 Dec 8 '16 at 13:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ What is exactly surprising? Even a Raspberry Pi is able to record, encode and transmit 720p video, consuming less than 500mA, and it is in no way power-optimized. \$\endgroup\$ – Dmitry Grigoryev Dec 8 '16 at 13:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Please post authentic and reliable links that have definite claims or nobody is going to be interested in answering your question. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Dec 8 '16 at 13:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ I doubt you're going to get too much detail about a military classified device .. but it doesn't matter, because this isn't particularly exceptional & very similar to the capabilities of mobile phones. \$\endgroup\$ – pjc50 Dec 8 '16 at 13:55

I don't see why not. First find a suitable low power encoder IC: https://www.fujitsu.com/downloads/EDG/binary/pdf/find/27-2e/2.pdf will do Full HD at 500mW, so assume 1/4 that for 720p/30. Squash the bitrate down to 1.5Mbps then there are all sorts of radio systems which will do that easily at low power. The distance is higher than normal but may be achieved with a directional antenna or (because this is military) use of other bands and the 2.4GHz everyone else is squashed into.

1.6km (or "a mile") is easily achievable by a mobile phone to its base station.

I am still unsure why a pair would cost $40,000.

That's a separate issue. Probably because they're made to military standards, including reliability and traceability, and in small quantities.

There are lots of toy drone + video systems that are much cheaper.

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