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Limitations of S.bus controls (21 Sept 2021 newsletter)

S.bus has been a very popular communication protocol and technology for UAV’s for a long time. Most hobby operators and many commercial / industrial operators still use S.Bus based controls. Surprisingly, even ‘new’  and ‘next’ generation ground control devices still use S.Bus based controls for industrial applications.  What are the limitations of using S.Bus in the future?

There are two key limitations of using S.Bus : communications and payload integration.

Communications

For industrial UAV applications, we believe the future is integrated IP based communication networks whether its private mesh based networks or public mobile / satellite based networks. Using S.Bus based controls is a big limitation in being able to leverage IP based communications for enhanced range and distributed control and functionality where multiple locations and users are required for executing missions (ie delivery, public safety, industrial inspections, etc)

Integrated payload control

Even ‘new’ ground control solutions with integrated video screens still rely on S.bus for payload control which means connecting the target payloads to aux ports on the flight controller and using channels to control the payload functions. This is a very poor way of controlling payloads with channel limitations and unidirectional control.  To get the most out of expensive payloads, communication should be bi-directional (mavlink or other) were granular control of the payload is possible and feedback / data from the payload can be communicated to the ground controllers in real-time.

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