Advanced Sensing - Camera Video Stream



On DJI Matrice 210 (M210), the Onboard SDK has access to the live camera stream from both the fpv camera and the main camera (the one mounted on the gimbal). This is part of the Advanced Sensing feature. As a result, in addition to viewing the live video frame from the DJI Go App, developers can write powerful onboard applications that read the image frames from the cameras, process and analyze them and take actions (such as rotate the gimbal or move the drone) if necessary.

The camera stream data is transmitted through the USB connection between the M210 and the onboard computer, same as the stereo vision data. The RC must be turned on for the main camera stream to be transmitted, while the FPV camera stream is always available.

APIs to use the camera stream feature

The Advanced Sensing library provides a set of simple APIs for developers to start, stop the camera streams, and check availability and obtain a copy of the latest image frame, for both the FPV camera and the main camera, listed as follows

bool startFPVCameraStream(CameraImageCallback cb = NULL, void * cbParam = NULL);
void stopFPVCameraStream();
bool newFPVCameraImageIsReady();
bool getFPVCameraImage(CameraRGBImage& copyOfImage);

bool startMainCameraStream(CameraImageCallback cb = NULL, void * cbParam = NULL);
void stopMainCameraStream();
bool newMainCameraImageReady();
bool getMainCameraImage(CameraRGBImage& copyOfImage);

Through the above APIs, developers have 2 ways to access the images

  1. If developers provide a callback function for a camera stream, then that function will be called automatically in an independent thread when a new frame is available.
  2. Otherwise, developers can obtain a copy of the image by polling in the main thread.

For details of the APIs, please refer to the API Ref and the samples.

Supported cameras, Resolution and Frame Rates

Different cameras can be mounted on the gimbal of the M210. The Onboard SDK can get main camera stream from the Zenmuse X4S and Zenmuse X5S.

The resolution of images from the FPV camera stream is 608x448. The resolution of images from the main camera stream can be 1920x1080 (Video Mode, 1080p), 1440x1080 (Camera Mode, 1080p), 1280x720 (Video Mode, 720p), or 960x720 (Camera Mode, 720p), which can be set in DJI Go. The frame rates for both FPV camera stream and the main camera stream are 30 FPS.


Under the hood, the data transmitted from the M210 to the onboard computer is compressed video stream at 30 fps. The onboard SDK uses FFmpeg to decode the video stream and outputs each decoded image frame. As a result,

  1. It takes a little time, around 1 second, for the decoder to decode the first frame. Developers will see some error messages spit out by FFmpeg.
  2. There is a small delay in the image frames due to the encoding/transmission/decoding procedure.
  3. Depending on the computing power and the image processing running, drop of frame may happen. We use Intel NUC and nVidia TX2 as our test and development platform.
  4. The APIs depends on FFmpeg. Currently they have only been tested on Ubuntu 16.04, since FFmpeg is not officially included in Ubuntu 14.04 software repositories. So Manifold is not supported by this release unless you build FFmpeg from source.
  5. The APIs depends on Ethernet over USB (specifically, the RNDIS) drivers on Linux, the kernel drivers used for tasks like Android tethering. If your Linux recognizes a new network adapter when you connect to the M210, you are good to go.