Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

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VAdroneflier
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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by VAdroneflier » 02 Jan 2014, 14:44

Too bad about the puddle landing.
Cheers for the hair dryer. :)

shawnf
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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by shawnf » 07 Jan 2014, 11:30

I've just uploaded a video I did showing the autonomous flight over Dartmoor.

It's about 5 mins in total and I did a couple of yaw headings to keep the camera pointing towards the stone circle.
I took off from the stone circle, so the first waypoint is some way away, and I watched with binoculars, as it was well out of wifi range.

The last waypoint is actually a land, so it is all under Flight Recorder control.

http://youtu.be/9eyfabi7Z1o" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

VAdroneflier
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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by VAdroneflier » 07 Jan 2014, 15:59

A beautiful autonomous flight, Shawn, and at an interesting site too! You obviously had great confidence in your ARDrone Flight Pro app to allow it to pilot your drone on that long long autonomous journey across very soggy ground. The final return to launch point appeared to be very precise. This is very exciting and encouraging for all Flight Recorder owners!

miketheveeg
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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by miketheveeg » 22 Apr 2014, 03:24

season is almost here in my area. I have drone 2.0, the GPS and bought the ARDrone Flight Pro app for my samsung galaxy 3 tab.
My autonomous flight testing is off to a great start.
[youtube]watch?v=r_M41vgtsKo[/youtube]

let us get this thread rolling again. I would love to hear how you flyers are getting the app running as in your sequence in starting up and making waypoints to pressing the launch button
I know I am missing a step somewhere

shawnf
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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by shawnf » 23 Apr 2014, 08:41

At a guess you haven't got a good GPS fix.
You need to have less than 6m fix when flying a route and as you are close to trees this affects GPS.
For full autonomous mode you also have to be in planner view (big map not split screen) as if you can see video you are in the old INS mode which just has GPS assistance and doesn't set the height, just flies the height you start at.
Also you need to make sure your drone compass is calibrated (use calibrate in the hover, not on the ground).

miketheveeg
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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by miketheveeg » 23 Apr 2014, 17:59

U r a wise man. I watched your vids and I was way off settings correctly. The water and snow didnt help either. In a few days will try again hopefullly in drier conditions. Love the app too. Stay tuned for more test results. The goal is to go to the other upright and back. Thanxs for reply shawnf.

brad112358
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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by brad112358 » 23 Jun 2014, 23:51

I've recently switched my ground station for experimenting with autonomous flights from QGC and a locally modified version of the android DroidPlanner app to ARDF-Pro which I purchased a while back but haven't used much until now. I have a few observations (bugs?) and questions.

1) I was confused for a time about the difference between the half screen map mode and the nearly full screen map (planning?) mode. I think I understand now, but the poor control of the INS mode was very confusing when I thought it should have been using the GPS to visit my waypoints! After using other mavlink ground stations, I thought my drone was drunk or something! Making this more clear would be helpful for new users and it could be as simple as including the letters INS or MavLink or GPS or some other clue on the appropriate screens or a popup when entering the various modes. I mistakenly thought it was just a matter of the map size. A follow on question here is *why* does the drone do so much better when *it* runs the control loop rather than the app? Does the half map screen mode not take advantage of the GPS at all?

2) After following the programmed waypoints, pressing the play screen button again does nothing except flash the leds. I find that I have to exit Planning (mavlink) mode and reenter it to restart the flight plan. Is this the desired behavior? Again, not intuitive for a new user.

3) After landing with the Land button in planning (mavlink) mode, I can't take off again without exiting and reentering planning mode.

4) If I take off in manual mode then land after entering planning mode, I find that the drone takes off all on it's own when exiting planning mode. Is it possible to integrate the state here? Almost as dangerous, I found that exiting planning mode can also cause the drone to land if the situation is reversed. My use case here is to take off and land manually before and after an autonomous flight because trees surround my landing area and I don't want to land or take off into a tree.

5) If the GPS fix weakens beyond the set threshold, the land button will not work in mavlink mode. And worse, if the controlling android device looses it's fix, it seems than *none* of the on screen controls work. I'm not sure, but I think this may be the case even if the drone is flying!

Now a few feature requests.

6) Is it possible to add a feature to send video back to the screen (wifi range permitting) while flying autonomously? I seem to remember success in opening the video stream ports while connected via mavlink when I was playing with QGC last year.

7) Can we have a "default" altitude for use when setting waypoints? (Or have I missed one) It is tedious to have to edit each and every waypoint to ensure the altitude I set is above the trees and houses I am trying to fly over.

8) Is there a way to quickly stop autonomous flight and hover in place without exiting planning mode (which takes a second or two)? restarting the flight plan from that point would also be handy.

9) I have a cheap bluetooth (Game Stop) game controller mounted to my tablet and directional antenna. Is there a way assign a button to switch from manual to mavlink mode and back?



One last question: What version of the firmware is recommended for autonomous flight? I'm currently on 2.4.7.

In spite of some surprises and learning curve, ARDF-Pro looks very useful for autonomous flight via mavlink. Wow, I can see how much time must have been put in to this app!

Thanks for the great work!

--Brad

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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by shawnf » 24 Jun 2014, 09:51

Wow long post...

I assume you have read and watched all the information on my website ?http://www.meavydev.co.uk/ARDrone.html

1) INS is the original autonomous mode written before GPS add-ons existed (well it was for one for V1 drones that was never released); it does use the GPS, but the data rate is lower and the PID controller is obviously not written by Parrot; it is only going to work within WiFi range; it doesn't support changing height or all the MAVLink waypoint modes... I'm not going to improve it, as it you are better off using the Flight Recorder via MAVLink ;)

2) The Drone flashes the LEDs not me, and it is usually a sign of a problem. Telnet into the drone and look at the SysLog.bin is the best way to work out what the completely undocumented and poor Parrot MAVLink implementation doesn't like...

3) I can take off, but my guess is that you are probably suffering from something in 2)

4) Parrot doesn't provide an easy way to transition between MAVLink and normal modes, so you are better off taking off/landing in MAVLink mode not trying to mix and match...

5) You can always use the MAVLink E-Stop and Disable buttons. MAVLink E-Stop doesn't cut the rotors just lands and Disable just stops following waypoints and hovers which answers 8) early. in The other buttons are dependant on the Flight Recorder GPS fix and Here needs your device fix.

6) Never got video to work via the SDK with an active MAVLink connection and as Parrot never updated the SDK to add Flight Recorder support, this is all guess work on my part. In fact Parrot haven't updated the SDK in 18 months... and they claim to support developers for the BeBop... that made me laugh :)

7) Possible but not much dev time at the moment.

8) see answer 5)

9) No as Gamepads aren't active in MAVLink mode

If you are running 2.4.7, then I think this is probably why you are seeing flashing LEDs and different behaviour to me. I am using 2.4.8.

brad112358
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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by brad112358 » 25 Jun 2014, 00:55

Yes, sorry about the long post. I was excited to be so close to having a better tool for autonomous flight that I blurted out all my questions at once. :-) Thanks for being patient in addressing all of the items!

3) I will try the newer firmware. If it works better I will let you know and you may want to update your documentation page. 2.4.7 seems to be recommended there.

4) As I said, I hope to reduce the likelihood of GPS errors causing a collision with a tree by starting and stopping automated flight at a safe altitude and manually landing. It looks like I can do that as long as I don't try to takeoff or land from MAVLink mode.

6) I agree that Parrot's lack of follow through with the API and developer support is unforgivable. As is their lack of timely Android support. I am unlikely to ever buy another of their products. Fortunately, it looks like they may soon loose their monopoly on low cost, relatively high quality ready to fly quadrotors. I am pretty sure I did transfer video via a raw TCP port when I was hacking on things last year. Since it runs Linux and we can telnet to it, there are some things we can discover even where Parrot didn't document them. I'll check again sometime. It may not be so hard to obtain video without using the API. It sounds from what you said that this is a feature you would like for yourself as well.

7) Adding a default altitude for waypoints seems like low hanging fruit and I think many of us would find it a great time saver. Please. Please. :-)

8) I see the E-Stop button, but where is Disable? I see it on the documentation page screen shot (which is out of date?) but I'm not sure where it is on the newer version.

Thanks!

--Brad

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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by brad112358 » 26 Jun 2014, 17:41

It looks like I was actually running with the 2.4.8 firmware already. I tried to update but it says I am already on 2.4.8 and I don't see a newer official version.

I did some more testing. I'm still seeing the issues with not being able to start MAVLink waypoint following a second time without exiting MAVLink mode first and not being able to take off after landing in this mode. I will grab the log file this weekend. Is this the best place for discussion of debugging, etc?

I'm guessing the disable button must be the circle with the line. I first thought it was part of the E-Stop icon. I noticed that when this icon is pressed following waypoints does stop, but the drone fails to hold position and quickly drifts off. Since it also can't be controlled manually in this mode, I guess exiting back to normal mode is much better than using this button even though it is a bit slower.

Another problem I didn't report yet is the location of the drone on the screen always stops updating after the first waypoint is reached. Is this a known issue? This is very bad for me since if the drone looses power or crashes for any reason while flying out of sight but within WiFi range (which is a very large area with my antenna), it is critical to know where it went down so I have a chance of recovering it.

If someone wants to try to reproduce these issues, note that in the recent tests, I had 4 nearby waypoints with no takeoff or landing waypoints and I did test with multiple different android devices including my Nook running CM 10.1.3 and my mostly stock GS3. Both had very good WiFi signals the entire time as I was only a few meters away.

I will investigate these issues further this weekend, but I thought I would post about the two new behaviors I noticed.

--Brad

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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by brad112358 » 28 Jun 2014, 04:53

I'm not sure if this is the best place to post debug info, but here it is.
This was collected by telneting to the drone and running "tail -f" on syslog.bin while performing the noted commands and actions from the planning/mavlink screen
Between each action/command, I typed notes into the log saying what I was about to do. Here is the result. I have edited deleted some digits from coordinates. I don't see any sign that the drone rejected any commands at the failure points. Instead, from this point of view, it looks like the app just didn't do anything. Is there a way to collect a log from the app which might help with the debug. Are you able to reproduce any of the bad behavior I have seen?

Thanks,

--Brad

------------------------------------------

Flight path already programed
Start Mavlink screen
Press play

289.656066 Video_Hori 6 935 Reconfiguring the horizontal pipelines for codec 82
289.660949 Video_Hori 6 935 Reconfiguration for <Live MP4.2-360p Record H.264-720p> done.
289.671478 Video_Hori 6 935 Recording video on USB key - disabling the video storage socket
289.671508 Video_Hori 6 935 Flushed video queue <(Live queue)>
289.716033 H264_DSP 6 925 H.264 : Initializing the encoder ...
289.716094 H264_DSP 6 925 H.264 : using bitrate 4000 kbit/s
289.954681 Video_Hori 6 936 MPeg4.2 : Initializing the encoder with bitrate = 1000 kbit/s
289.966247 UsbkeyWriter 6 954 UsbKeyWriter : creating movie file /data/video/usb0/media_20140627_193108/video_20140627_193108.mp4
289.968109 UsbkeyWriter 6 954 Start recording on USB - available space : 2434114kb (time est. 79'14")
289.981903 Video_Hori 6 936 Flushed video queue <(Live queue)>
290.688415 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_check_update 375 Reading /data/flightplan.csv...
290.688751 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_read 335 Waypoint count=0, total distance=0.000000, total validation time=0.000000, first waypoint=0
290.688781 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_check_update 389 Current waypoint sequence is too great for the new flightplan...
290.688812 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_end_of_flightplan 365 End of Flight Plan
302.966735 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 mvlk_interface_handle_parsed_message 1907 gcs wpt count = 4 received 4
303.068115 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_append_wpt 546 0 1 0 16 0.000000 3.000000 0.000000 0.000000 41.821 -88.260 1.000000 1
303.168945 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 mvlk_interface_handle_parsed_message 1907 gcs wpt count = 4 received 4
303.273162 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_append_wpt 546 0 1 0 16 0.000000 3.000000 0.000000 0.000000 41.821 -88.260 1.000000 1
303.374420 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_append_wpt 546 1 0 0 16 0.000000 3.000000 0.000000 0.000000 41.886 -88.275 1.000000 1
303.477508 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_append_wpt 546 2 0 0 16 0.000000 3.000000 0.000000 0.000000 41.828 -88.229 1.000000 1
303.578704 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_append_wpt 546 3 0 0 16 0.000000 3.000000 0.000000 0.000000 41.889 -88.222 1.000000 1
303.578979 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_check_update 375 Reading /data/flightplan.csv...
303.579895 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_read 168 0 1 0 16 0.000000 3.000000 0.000000 0.000000 41.821 -88.260 1.000000 1
303.579986 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_read 168 1 0 0 16 0.000000 3.000000 0.000000 0.000000 41.886 -88.275 1.000000 1
303.580047 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_read 168 2 0 0 16 0.000000 3.000000 0.000000 0.000000 41.828 -88.229 1.000000 1
303.580108 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_read 168 3 0 0 16 0.000000 3.000000 0.000000 0.000000 41.889 -88.222 1.000000 1
303.580230 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_read 335 Waypoint count=4, total distance=30.009285, total validation time=0.000000, first waypoint=0
303.580505 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 mvlk_interface_handle_parsed_message 1811 MISSION ACCEPTED AND ACK SENT
303.782104 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 mvlk_interface_direct_command 2350 CMD Packet received : 200
303.883087 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 mvlk_interface_direct_command 2350 CMD Packet received : 400
303.983551 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 mvlk_interface_direct_command 2350 CMD Packet received : 252
303.983612 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 mvlk_interface_direct_command 2556 Mission RESUMED
304.084625 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 mvlk_interface_direct_command 2350 CMD Packet received : 176
304.287689 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 mvlk_interface_direct_command 2350 CMD Packet received : 300
304.287750 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 mvlk_interface_direct_command 2567 CMD Mission Start
304.790588 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_navigation 1334 Not already started
304.791015 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_update_wpt_target 1522 Updating target to seq 0

Lost drone tracking about here

304.791046 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_update_wpt_target 1537 Classic waypoint
304.791290 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_update_timeout 1174 Distance=8.051723 current wpt timeout=18 (val time=0)
304.791320 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 Setting toy's configuration for param:control:autonomous_flight with value:FALSE
304.791381 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 Setting toy's configuration for param:control:flying_camera_mode with value:10000,20000000,41192,-88576,1000,2000,2000,0,0,0
304.791442 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 Setting toy's configuration for param:control:flying_camera_enable with value:TRUE
304.791687 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_navigation 1393 Inside waypoint's validation area, so timeout is extended to 19
311.838653 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_get_current_wpt_state 1214
******************* WPT VALIDATED *******************
311.839141 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_update_wpt_target 1522 Updating target to seq 1
311.839141 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_update_wpt_target 1537 Classic waypoint
311.839294 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_update_timeout 1174 Distance=5.993984 current wpt timeout=15 (val time=0)
311.839324 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 Setting toy's configuration for param:control:autonomous_flight with value:FALSE
311.839416 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 Setting toy's configuration for param:control:flying_camera_mode with value:10000,20000000,41864,-88768,1000,2000,2000,0,0,0
311.839477 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 Setting toy's configuration for param:control:flying_camera_enable with value:TRUE
315.866973 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_get_current_wpt_state 1214
******************* WPT VALIDATED *******************
315.867614 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_update_wpt_target 1522 Updating target to seq 2
315.867645 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_update_wpt_target 1537 Classic waypoint
315.867889 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_update_timeout 1174 Distance=5.993503 current wpt timeout=15 (val time=0)


Waypoints completed drone hovering at last waypoint

Press play, nothing happened, no log activity

Press land

315.867919 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 Setting toy's configuration for param:control:autonomous_flight with value:FALSE
315.868011 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 Setting toy's configuration for param:control:flying_camera_mode with value:10000,20000000,41288,-88320,1000,2000,2000,0,0,0
315.868072 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 Setting toy's configuration for param:control:flying_camera_enable with value:TRUE
320.899566 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_get_current_wpt_state 1214
******************* WPT VALIDATED *******************
320.900421 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_update_wpt_target 1522 Updating target to seq 3
320.900512 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_update_wpt_target 1537 Classic waypoint
320.900665 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_update_timeout 1174 Distance=4.834566 current wpt timeout=14 (val time=0)
320.900695 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 Setting toy's configuration for param:control:autonomous_flight with value:FALSE
320.900787 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 Setting toy's configuration for param:control:flying_camera_mode with value:10000,20000000,41896,-88192,1000,2000,2000,0,0,0
320.901916 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 Setting toy's configuration for param:control:flying_camera_enable with value:TRUE
324.929626 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_get_current_wpt_state 1214
******************* WPT VALIDATED *******************
324.929779 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 flightplan_end_of_flightplan 365 End of Flight Plan
335.601226 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 mvlk_interface_handle_parsed_message 1907 gcs wpt count = 4 received 4
359.658538 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 mvlk_interface_handle_parsed_message 1917 MISSION_CLEAR_ALL 45
359.761596 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 mvlk_interface_direct_command 2350 CMD Packet received : 176
359.862457 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 mvlk_interface_direct_command 2350 CMD Packet received : 21
359.862487 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 mvlk_interface_direct_command 2434 Land command received
359.862548 MavlinkAutoNav 6 945 mvlk_interface_direct_command 2438 CMD Land


landed

shawnf
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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by shawnf » 28 Jun 2014, 11:50

I'm not sure what bad behaviour you are complaining about... just the second attempt to follow waypoints?
The route I fly, I can't fly the route again, as the battery is too low ;)

This is down to the drone sending it's GPS location, so my guess is that you aren't seeing the drone location updates when you are trying to follow waypoints.
I am not doing anything to stop the GPS updates, so I'm afraid that is a Parrot feature (in fact it is fine with another MAVLink based drone).

Feel free to ask to join the ARDrone Flight Pro beta, as I don't check this forum as often...

brad112358
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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by brad112358 » 28 Jun 2014, 15:11

What am I complaining about? Well, the most serious problem is the lack of GPS data coming back. As you say, this may be the drone firmware, but I believe older firmware worked with the other ground stations I have used. And it would be really nice to have video and perhaps a default altitude. What other drone are you using?

The other problems are minor, but you said you didn't experience the problem with taking of after landing in MAVlink mode and you implied you also didn't know about the problem activating waypoint a scond time and suggested we look at the log and this log covers both of those behaviors. It seems possible that the gps info stops for the same reason that is causing the problem with not taking off and not followin waypoints a second time. Can you reproduce any of these issues? If not, does your log look different than mine somehow? Do you have a suggestion for what to check next?

Since I'm quite capable of and willing to assist with debug, yes, how do I get started with the beta Perhaps some if this behavior is different there? I suppose I can gather packet traces next if you say you can't reproduce these problems. Do you see GPS data displayed after the first waypoint with the AR drone? If you have moved beyond short test flights, perhaps you didn't notice that takoff is not working after landing because you don't have any battery left? Can you try it please?

In the mean time, I will try another MAVlink ground station software and let you know if any of this is also broken there.

Thanks,

--Brad

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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by shawnf » 29 Jun 2014, 07:16

Yes I know about the GPS stopping, but as I'm not doing anything to do it, I put it down to Parrot firmware.
Beta information is just a few threads down..http://www.ardrone-flyers.com/forum/vie ... =42&t=6560

The other drone is a 3DR IRIS.

Video isn't going to happen any time soon, as it would require a lot of additional code, given Parrot don't support it in the SDK. They might release an update for the BeBop, but I'm not holding my breath...

Default altitude will be in the next beta, but hasn't had any testing, and as I'm away, I can't do any drone tests you asked either...

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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by brad112358 » 29 Jun 2014, 19:30

Shawn,

Thanks for your reply. If you knew about the problem with not getting location data back after the first waypoint in MAVlink mode and were blaming the firmware, I wish you had mentioned that when you replyed to the post where I reported it. That might have saved me some time capturing and posting logs and you some time replying.

I have tested today with my modified copy of droidplanner (My code is not up to date with the latest upstream droidplanner but my branch does include several enhancements and bug fixes, including adding MAVlink commands to start a flight plan which droidplanner is still missing. Autonomous flights with Droidplanner exhibits neither the loss of tracking, nor the failure to restart the flight plan after flying. I have no doubt that the firmware may have bugs and I know that Parrot is partially to blame for not updating the SDK, but this demonstrates that both of these issues that you are blaming on the firmware can indeed be made to work if the correct sequence of MAVlink commands are sent to the drone.

You can find the code I tested with today here if you want to try it yourself or perhaps you can look over the source and see what you might be doing differently that may be causing the issues.

https://github.com/brad112358/droidplanner

I hope you will reconsider your decision not to try to fix the loss of tracking issue.

This is all I have time to write for now, but I will try to post more to the beta thread later

Thanks

--Brad

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