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Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

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Zack3g
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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by Zack3g » 03 Nov 2013, 19:22

Interesting. I'll have to tinker with the AMSL altitude if this wind ever dies down. Wind's blowing like crazy, nearly knocking me over. No way the drone will be happy out there.

giorgi3
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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by giorgi3 » 06 Nov 2013, 01:02

ok, my first autonomous flight with the ARdrone Flight Recorder and Flight Pro was.... scary.

So here is what happened. I had plotted a very simple flight from my side yard to the empty space between two houses across the street. Probably a flight distance of 150 ft. The houses looked to be about 40 ft apart, so I figured I could slip in between easily and land. In my excitement to try this out, what I 'thought' was this nice safe grassy area on the satellite map was actually an empty lot. A brand new house was built there this summer; the map just didn't show it and of course I was to pumped to figure it out. So the nice big grassy landing area I had picked out on the map was actually smack dab in the middle of a brand new house. :oops:

Fortunately for me the 'Emergency' button on the autonomous flight works perfectly, aborting the flight and landing me safely in my new neighbors driveway. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Bottom line, it looks like the software works really well, but maybe I need to put a little more 'thought' into my flight plans.

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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by shawnf » 11 Nov 2013, 17:01

Glad you like it :)

I'm actually down in Devon at the moment, so the first real chance to test out of wifi range...

It all works although a bit nervous watching it fly down the field when the wifi connection dropped ;)
It did the full route and then even landed when I set the final waypoint to be a land type.

So I'm actually getting a chance to do some drone flying rather than programming for a change :)

Forgot to say - using one of the new HD batteries and having set HD ( and a flight radius ) in the Param settings. The S3 battery went flat before the drone as it was powering the PS3 gamepad ;)

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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by VAdroneflier » 11 Nov 2013, 21:11

Congratulations on getting in some autonomous flight time, Shawn. I'm envious as I'm still waiting for dry calm weather here.

Any words of wisdom or procedural advice for the rest of us?

Over on the Parrot forum, iWhatever users of ARDrone FreeFlight are stressing the advisability of performing a flat trim and magnetometer calibration spin prior to EVERY autonomous flight (else bad things may happen). And, since the latter is performed automatically only on the first launch of a power cycle, they are recommending to unplug and replug the battery if it is your intent to launch again on a new autonomous flight mission without changing to a fresh battery. In that way, you force a new magnetometer calibration spin to occur before proceeding on the new mission. Are those calibration precautions also advisable for Android users of ARDrone Flight Pro?

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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by shawnf » 12 Nov 2013, 08:49

I didn't do a magnetic calibration after the first one and I did six flights without issues. Each flight took a couple of minutes.
You can just do a calibrate at a hover, if you are worried, before going into MAVLink control. I did a couple of flights starting in the air.
Obviously you need an accurate compass, but I'd hope that the compass doesn't go out of calibration that quickly and they can cope with small errors...
Certainly I've not had any problems so far, but I'll try some longer flights if the wind doesn't pick up.

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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by VAdroneflier » 12 Nov 2013, 16:40

It is very good to hear that you experienced no problems in your recent autonomous flights with ARDrone Flight Pro and that you did not have to do a magnetic calibration before every flight. I'd say that indicates ARDrone Flight Pro is superior to Parrot's FreeFlight and Qgroundcontrol combination in controlling pre-programmed autonomous flight. :D.

As I said, some iWhatever flyers on the Parrot ARDrone 2.0 forum had been reporting very serious deviations from flight plans using ARDrone FreeFlight and Qgroundcontrol. The chatter on the subject didn't die away until the practice of petforming a magnetic calibration on every flight was advocated. Whether adoption of that particular procedure was actually responsible for curing the problem can't really be said. Subsequent upgrades in software and firmware might have been the cure. Unfortunately most people do not always state their preflight procedures and software/firmware versions when they report and discuss problems.

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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by shawnf » 17 Nov 2013, 09:53

I have done some more long range flights.
I haven't been setting the compass and it seems OK.

I have noticed a few stability issues when transitioning to the Plan view with an active local recording, which should be fixed in the 9.50 build coming soon.

I experimented with MAVLink ROIs (setting camera points of interest), but Parrot don't seem to support it, so it's back to waypoint yaw control with headings I'm afraid. I've left it in, as Parrot might decide to implement it...but not holding my breath ;)

I also noticed that 2.4.8 does seem to check battery levels before initiating a long MAVLink flight, so a good thing I guess. It means you need to check battery level as well as GPS fix if it not doing anything after pressing Following Waypoints.

It also seems that sometimes the MAVLink code in the drone goes on holiday, so just pull the battery if things stop working (like the Params button being greyed out permanently).

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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by giorgi3 » 17 Nov 2013, 23:28

I had used ARF pro to set some way points on one side of my house via my Android S3 phone. Later I switched to my HP tablet running Android (for more screen space) and went to the other side of the house to test it out. Anyway when I launched, it took off towards the other side of the house where the old waypoints are located. Does this make sense? Does the drone retain the old waypoints? i expected the tablet to load a new set of waypoints that would wipe out the older ones.

BTW, This is an older HP Palm Tablet that does not have a GPS and is running cyanogenmod 10.1. It was running the latest version of ARF pro with support for non-GPS devices.

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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by shawnf » 18 Nov 2013, 08:39

The waypoints are held in the flight recorder, as otherwise they can't be used out of Wi-Fi range.
Normally if you close the planner view it clears the waypoints, but I guess if you exit the app from the planner then they might not get cleared.
If you haven't created any waypoints, then I read the existing ones in the flight recorder.

So this sounds like what happened.

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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by giorgi3 » 19 Nov 2013, 04:33

Thank Shawn.

I'm not sure really what happened. I'll pay closer attention next time. It's possible that I had entered other way points earlier in the day and then exited.

Does the flight recorder retains the waypoints even with the battery disconnected?

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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by shawnf » 19 Nov 2013, 09:14

It isn't actually held in the flight recorder, but in the drone flash, so yes it survives a battery disconnect.

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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by dnbrice » 02 Jan 2014, 00:36

This is my first post on this board. I see this thread dies a couple of months ago, but I have been doing a lot of testing with the ARDrone 2.0, Flight Recorder, and QGroundControl. I have been abole to fly it out of wifi range and have it programmed to return back to range. I have practiced this flight several times.

Oneof the things I have notices is that I can only program regular waypoints in QGroundcontrol. I have not been able to get the other features to work. If I try another feature besides waypoints, it gets stuck on that paticular waypoint and just hovers.

I am still trying to figure out how to make it fly faster to waypoints. I have tried changing the parameter in QGroundControl under Config-> Advanced Config -> Speed-M-S, which is set to 2.0, but it seems you cannot upload a new value to increase this.

Has anyone else figured out the speed limitation with autonomous flying? I think it would be beneficial to increase this to get more range on one battery.

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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by shawnf » 02 Jan 2014, 09:19

You do realise that this thread is for ARDrone Flight Pro?
You seem to be asking about QGroundControl...

In ARDFP you need to set the speed via Planner view Settings and edit the Speed-m-s param, but this is done every flight as the drone doesn't persist this.

There is also the Parrot thread:
http://forum.parrot.com/ardrone/en/view ... 219#p33219" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by VAdroneflier » 02 Jan 2014, 10:22

Thanks, Shawn. I was just about to ask the same question to dnbrice when your response came in. It seemed to me that he was flying his drone with Qgroundcontrol rather than ARDrone Flight Pro.

As to this thread dying for the last couple of months, I've noticed a marked slowing of participation rate on most threads since the end of Fall ... probably the effect of holiday distractions and the generally more blustery and less favorable flying weather in the northern latitudes.

For my part, one thing or the other has prevented me from flying very much lately and I've not yet been able to try out any autonomous GPS-controlled flight plans extending beyond and returning to WiFi control range. However I have made several successful shorter range flights in various patterns and can report that everything seems to work satisfactorily -- including the ability to adjust autonomous flight speed.

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Re: Autonomous Flight With Flight Recorder GPS

Post by shawnf » 02 Jan 2014, 11:24

I guess I should have wished everyone a Happy New Year :)

Talking about weather... I did try two Autonomous flights on the only two days in the last two weeks where it looked OK to fly.
The first time it proved too windy and the Drone exceeded angles trying to fly the route... well it got to such a steep angle of attack it just lost height and flew into the ground.

The second time was fine - I was experimenting using the yaw heading to set the camera direction (you have to set it for the waypoint you are flying to, as the drone yaws to the heading for the next waypoint for the whole time it is flying to the waypoint). Well the flight was fine, but the video was too dark, as it was just after sunset.

I then thought I would do a few manual flights... all OK apart from the last landing where it was too dark to hover and it slid sideways into a rather large and deep puddle...
At least I found out that the drone floats, and for a while I thought the NavBoard was dead, but a few days and hair dryer blowing later, and it seems to be working again ;)

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