Hovering above or tracking a moving target, I have been playing with GPS tracking devices for the last 5 years and we are able to send a simple command to the tracker to retrieve its current position. Has anyone had any experience in being able to have a moving vehicle being tracked by a drone. I know I could send the drone to the last known GPS position but that could be up to 20 seconds position delay if it is moving. Can a transmitter or beacon sort of arrangement be fitted to a vehicle and the drone follow it ?
Yes this is possible and pretty sure with apm?
You need a transmitter to send waypoints to the apm via a gps reciever. For example if you have a gps dongle connected to your laptop and you have wireless 3dr link or similar you can do it by pressing ctrl and f in mission planner and clicking follow me your mission planner will then use the data from the gps dongle and transmit waypoints via the 3dr link to your quad e.t.c
There are ways to make a smaller version of this without sticking a laptop on what you intend to follow I am sure but it is not something I have tried yet
Here is a Mikrokopter doing the same thing
"make a smaller version of this without sticking a laptop"
AKA: iPhone/Android device.... and you get the benefit of A-GPS (if you near some wifi APs) and all day battery life. Heck, if someone can write an Android program that uses Google navigation, you can send bearing commands to the APM in advance to check against the GPS data and send any elevation data too.
The MK's execute follow-me in that video by using a second full MK unit (FC+NaviCtrl+MKGps), of course w/o escs and props/frame. You're getting more than GPS: IMU ground info, so you can accurately follow terrain/elevation, but a bit pricey for a solution when there are better options.
That would be the nuts, my phone uses google navigation but unfortunately writing a program for it to send waypoints to my apm is beyond my current skills
Open ArdupilotMegaPlanner and press Ctrl-F . Then click the Follow Me button. Yes, by default you need a laptop running planner, but the source is available. Bend it to your needs.
Neat! Didn't know about Ctrl-F
Thank you :)
what about following an IR signal , for example getting a quad to loiter around a moving car , or following a snow boarder going down a hill??, if this is possible the photography potentials are endless
OH! I like that idea! That would be amazing!
I know there are land based systems where a ATV will follow you around up and down hills etc as they are used for laying cables, I think they are radio not IR
Why do you say there would be a 20 second delay. GPS delay 1 to 2 secand max. You could transmit new data at 4 Hz easily. GPS tracker is infinitely easier with DIYdrones parts. How are you going to sense an infrared becon, with a camera? You will need a lot more processing power than the APM. Ya, you can do it if your that advanced, and had the time.
The 20 second delay is from using the tracking device, the device is a small tracker used in vehicles that receives a constant GPS signal then transmits the current location data signal via a Cell / Mobile phone every 20 seconds or multiple thereof. Think of a SMS to our server where it is then decoded and displayed on a Google Earth Screen. We use our own server but a free buddy tracker is here http://gpsgate.com/
I started experimenting with a system this year that may be a bit too elaborate: My idea is to follow a commercial ($150) GPS tracking unit that sends it location over the GSM network at a set interval. It can be set to as little as 5 sec.
The system comprises of an Arduino with GSM shield that is connected to the APM through an I2C connection. By sending an SMS command from any phone to the GSM shield, it automatically dials the tracking unit to start receiving GPS coordinates. The tricky part is to then activate "Guided" mode in the APM and relay the received GPS coordinates to the APM. On the other hand it doesn't seem too difficult and the userhooks in the code might be sufficient to handle most of the programming required. Just need a bit of time to get to know the code a bit better as well as the custom I2C procedure for the APM which works differently from the default Arduino "Wired" code.
If it works I also hope to be able to send other MAVlink type commands to the APM.