Recording Video of Passing Aircraft with A Raspberry Pi and RTL-SDR

Electronics experimenter Simon Aubury has recently made a write up on his blog about a project he has been working on. His project is the use of a Raspberry Pi with servo mounted video camera and RTL-SDR to automatically track and record video of passing aircraft.

Simon’s project works by using the RTL-SDR connected to the Raspberry Pi as an ADS-B receiver. From the ADS-B signals the current coordinates of nearby aircraft can be determined. Then by using some coordinate math, the Raspberry Pi can be told to point its camera in the direction of the aircraft. As well as videoing the passing aircraft, the Raspberry Pi also overlays text on to the video showing information such as flight number, source and destination airports, aircraft type, elevation and distance and date of observation.

In addition to all that, his software also automatically uploads the recorded videos onto his website. Here you can see the latest and closest video captures his system has performed.

[Discovered on Hackaday]

Raspberry Pi RTL-SDR Plane Tracker Video Capture
Raspberry Pi RTL-SDR Plane Tracker Video Capture

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Awesome work! You could apply a Kalman Filter to the coordinates of the aircraft, and this would allow you to track it smoothly! It would even allow you to slightly predictive – predicting the location of the aircraft before the beacon sends it.