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Autopilot - tips?

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by joe21, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. joe21

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    Just purchased Autopilot. Been reading the extensive manual and playing around with the app on my iPad (have not yet connected to P3). I want to get a much better understanding of this software prior to using it for a flight.

    The manual is very detailed, but it seems to skip over some of the more obvious items. (IMO).

    Is Autopilot meant to be used a replacement for DJI GO? I realize you need to quit one before starting the other - but is Autopilot meant to be used instead of DJI GO for all flight operations? Or is it supposed to be used in lieu of the DJI advanced flight modes only?

    With DJI GO, I generally do a pre-flight procedure and then use the "auto take off" button. Then I would fly to a higher altitude near my first waypoint (for waypoint missions) and engage the waypoint mode to run the mission.

    Doing the same in Autopilot... should I still use GO to get airborne and near the first point. Then launch Autopilot and switch to that to run a flight path? Or it is designed skip any use of GO and do everything through Autopilot.


    Regarding waypoint missions in Autopilot...

    I have run several missions in DJI GO. Process is easy enough. I have re-created one of those missions in Autopilot. I used the actual GO mission locations and altitudes as reference. I should have plenty of clearance from any trees or ground obstacles.

    However, what happens if I don't like the actual flight path? I see how I can drop out of the mission. I also see how I can resume the mission from where I left off. But what about modifying the waypoints? Can this be easily done "on the fly" - something like "update based on current position" for position, altitude, yaw or gimbal pitch? I am pretty sure I will have to do some fine tuning when I see what the camera actually sees.


    Any other tips or tricks for using Autopilot, especially for waypoint missions?
     
  2. alokbhargava

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    I have not downloaded Autopilot but I can definitely tell you two apps can't talk to RC on the same USB port. So better close one app before starting the second.

    Check the missing features in autopilot as in case you want to use them, you should start Go app first and autopilot next after closing it.

    You can kill mission any time by moving out of F mode to P mode and then manually control your P3 thru RC
     
  3. With The Birds

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    Autopilot can be used as an alternative to DJI GO for all aspects of flight. You still need go for app assisted compass cal, camera and other settings. You are probably best to run GO for pre-flight checks as you can't see sensor status in AP either.

    You don't need go to take off. AP can launch from the ground (mission start).

    Waypoints, POIs, pretty much everything can be modified in flight with the AC instantly responding to changes.
     
  4. joe21

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    Thanks for the info. I realized that AP didn't allow for camera settings, but didn't realize about compass calibration.

    I saw the "mission start" info in the manual. I associate that term with something like a waypoint mission or orbit mission. Good to know I can just "fly" with AP and then enter into a mode of some sort.

    Thanks,
     
  5. autoflightlogic

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    Camera settings and compass calibration can both be done in Autopilot. For the compass calibration, just flip the flight mode switch on the RC 5 times while in the flight dashboard.
     
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  6. joe21

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    Cool. Thanks for the info.

    Its it then safe to say that there is no need to launch DJI GO at all? I can simply start up AP and do everything from there?

    I primarily purchased AP for the waypoint features. Seems it would simplify things to just run on app.

    On the topic of adjusting waypoints "in the field" - what it the simplest way to do this? I am used to the DJI waypoint system where you fly to the location and add the waypoint with a single click. Is there a similar way to update/adjust/add waypoints in AP? Or is "live" editing the same as offline creation... open the point data and manually enter new values? It would seem that the "manual data entry" approach
    would lead to some trial and error, while positioning the bird and logging the current state would provide more accuracy.

    Sorry if I missed this waypoint info in the manual (lots to digest). If it is in there, just point me to the page.
     
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  7. With The Birds

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    I did say "app assisted" compass calibration.

    Re camera settings while there are some functions that can be accessed through the remote I haven't found a way to switch between manual/auto video size etc. No doubt a camera menu will find its way into the app in the future. It is clear you have focused on the flight controller and overall functionality as the priority. Which is appreciated.
     
  8. J&L

    J&L

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    I suggest getting a stylus pen to use with waypoints that way when you plan your mission you can adjust on the fly and adjust quickly while creating the mission.
     
  9. joe21

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    Nice idea. Just tried it and it does give more control, especially compared to my big fingers. :) Thanks.


    More reading/watching videos brings more questions on Autopilot...

    The "portrait" mode looks very interesting. How is that possible with an iPad Air2? I am under the impression that the iPad must remain connected to the RC. The holder cannot accommodate the iPad in portrait mode.

    I'm also still a little confused after watching the "waypoint" tutorial videos on YouTube.

    Let's say I am ready to take off and fly a waypoint mission. If I switch to "F" and then "engage" my P3 will take off, fly autonomously to waypoint 1 and complete the mission parameters. Correct?

    What if I, like the narrator in the video, prefer to fly to the first waypoint before turning control over to AP? Do I stay in P mode, take off, fly to point, then switch to F and engage? In other words, does P mode in AP work the same way as P mode in GO? Then to use an of the modes in AP I need to switch to F? I mainly fly in a hilly area with some high trees. My waypoints easily account for this, but I am concerned about what happens between home point and waypoint 1.
     
  10. Tenly

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    Yes. You can do that. As a rule, I would recommend NOT engaging from the ground. Too much possibility that you'll hit something while getting into position to begin the actual mission.
     
    #10 Tenly, Apr 5, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  11. Tenly

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    I'm about a week and a half ahead of you with Autopilot - but I've read through flight school start to finish 3 full times now and I've seen all of the video tutorials at least once - many of them twice. I've also successfully flown a couple follow missions, a waypoint mission that started 500m away from me and was comprised of 42 waypoints and both a stationary orbit mission and a moving orbit mission with an airspace object which is essentially follow/orbit mission combined. I am loving what this software lets me do!
     
    #11 Tenly, Apr 5, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2016
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  12. Tenly

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    I usually start with DJI Go to make sure there are no warnings or alerts about battery or firmware and to calibrate the compass and select the correct video/photo mode for the upcoming flight - then, while still on the ground - I exit DJI Go and launch Autopilot in P mode. Before purchasing Autopilot, I use to always use the assisted take off in DJI Go - but now I do it the manual way. Briefly push both RC sticks all the way down and towards the outside edge of the remote. This starts the motors but does not take off. When you're ready - simply give it some throttle with the left joystick and rise into the air - fly to a position close to your first waypoint and when you're ready to engage - flip to F mode and click the "Engage" item at the bottom of the UI.
     
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  13. joe21

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    Exactly my concern. Thanks for the info. It's all starting to make a bit more sense.

    Most things I jump into and learn as I go. Doesn't seem like a good idea with a flying machine that can crash into my home. :) Trying to get a good grasp on this _before_ I power up the motors.
     
  14. Tenly

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    Well - one thing you could do to account for this - if you always take off from the same place - is to put the first waypoint in every mission directly above your takeoff position. That way when you engage from the ground - you're sure it just goes straight up.
     
  15. With The Birds

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    Manual takeoff is, or at least seems to me, to be easier than auto. Less rooting around in the app and your eyes are on the AC at all times. start motors and one stick movement and your up in a hover- probably at a better height than GO delivers you to in auto (out of ground effect and low wind gust susceptibility- not to mention shrubs and pot plants).

    Manual takeoff also provides the opportunity to evaluate AC behaviour (response to stick inputs, hover stability, heading etc) before handing over to autopilot.
     
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  16. Tenly

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    Yep - I didn't explain all the reasons why - but in post 12, I did explain how to do a manual take off and said that I do it that way now - but the OP specifically asked about auto-takeoff - so if he is more comfortable with that - I wanted to give him a safer option within Autopilot than just engaging blindly!

    But Joe - if you start up in DJI Go anyway - to check sensors or for whatever reason - you could also still use the auto-takeoff there before switching apps. I'm not sure if it's necessary or not - but I always kill the app completely when I'm switching rather than just minimizing it with the home button.
     
  17. With The Birds

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    I talked about running GO for sensor checking in post #3 (9 before 12)... Didn't realise it was a competition LOL

    I wouldn't switch apps in flight just so I could use auto-take off. Waste of battery let alone chance you may have a glitch (probably unlikely).
     
  18. Tenly

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    There's no issue with switching in flight. If the OP is more comfortable with auto-takeoff that's his call. I often exit AutoPilot and switch to DJI Go after my main mission is completed so I can fly back it fly around with a more familiar interface with better battery visualization and easier access to photo/video if I want to snap a few adhoc photos on the way back. My point is that there's no technical reason you couldn't switch back and forth all day! It's not flight to cause a glitch - and even if there's no app running you still have full control of the bird via the RC.
     
  19. J&L

    J&L

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    I also find it useful when I'm creating a certain mission to read the manual and watch the video at the same time. Press pause and then play Etc. I like using follow mode, waypoints and orbit mode. I use orbit for taking photos of old abandoned properties. Here is a video I did 2 weeks ago while fishing using follow mode. I was nervous using it over the lake but it hasn't let me down over land lol.



    Waypoint mission

     

    Attached Files:

  20. autoflightlogic

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    Of course.

    You can either just drag the existing points on the map, even while engaged and Autopilot will adjust the flight path in real-time, or you can tap Use Aircraft Position to create a new Waypoint (or configure C1 or C2 to activate this function). When you do the second option, Autopilot will also display a prompt asking if you want to create a Direction Strategy Focus Trigger based on the current gimbal position. If you answer yes and enable interpolation, it will give you a very similar result to Solo's multipoint cablecam.

    You mean displaying the pretty graphic of the aircraft positioned horizontally or vertically? Yes that is true, but in Autopilot it does display the words "Rotate Horizontally" and "Rotate Vertically" in the status message on the Flight Dashboard, telling you when to do each.

    The camera settings menu was added in version 3.1 (see changelog). When the aircraft is connected, open the flight dashboard and tap on the button with 3 horizontal lines next to the record button in the bottom-center of the camera view.

    Just disable inline-controls in the settings and take the iPad out of the holder. The idea is that you will be using the iPad on a separate stand / tripod for this scenario. It is a great way to interact with Autopilot, and another unique feature that no other app has.

    Yes

    You can take off in P or F and fly manually either way. It is the same as GO. Autopilot won't start sending commands until you engage. If you do engage mid-air, just be sure to answer the altimeter calibration questions correctly. If you use the current aircraft altitude as ground level, all altitudes specified in the waypoints will be relative to this altitude. Some people like to take advantage of this feature in order to fly at "negative altitudes" in canyons.

    True, there are no firmware upgrade warnings in Autopilot, but Autopilot will display other warnings such as bad GPS location, or IMU heating up, etc.