Follow-Me Mode: Available Today, Free in DroidPlanner 2.0

3D Robotics is thrilled to introduce the Follow Me feature, the latest adventure in autonomous flight. Follow Me mode allows you to be your own one-man aerial film crew: Capture yourself in action, with all the freedom of spontaneity and zero pre-planning, even when there’s no one around to helm the sticks for you. Just select “Follow” in DroidPlanner, strap on your Android phone or throw your tablet in your backpack, and your drone will follow wherever you go—and keep the camera trained on you the whole time! Place your Android device on another vehicle—say a car, boat, or rover—and Follow Me tracks that for you, too.

Best of all, it’s totally free from 3D Robotics, and it’s available today. You just need the beta of the new DroidPlanner 2.0 (free here) and the latest release candidate (3.2 RC 2) version of Arducopter (free here).*

 

To get the beta of DroidPlanner, please follow these instructions:

3) Download the app from the Play Store (this may take 30 mins or so to go live for you after you become a beta tester)

To get the latest release candidate of Arducopter, select "Beta software" from the firmware upload screen of Mission Planner or APM Planner. 

Both of these will be coming out of beta in a few weeks (after the Sparkfun AVC), so if you'd rather not be using beta software, just sit tight and it will automatically come to you with the next public update.

Follow Me frees you to be yourself, by yourself. Happy flying!

*Please note that as advised in the warning notice in Mission Planner and APM-Planner 2, Beta versions and release candidates are by definition unstable and should only be used by expert operators and only to help the developers test the code during the pre-release test cycle in direct coordination with the developers. In those versions, bugs are very likely to be present and the operator should be aware of a significantly higher operational risk and choose location and operation modes for flights accordingly, as well as be prepared for the possibility of undesired behavior of the aircraft and even a catastrophic failure.

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Tags: 3D, APM:Copter, DroidPlanner, Follow, Me, Robotics

Comment by John Hestness on June 15, 2014 at 7:41pm

Awesome.  Is this compatible with all versions of APM hardware?


3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on June 15, 2014 at 7:50pm

Yep! APM 2.x, Pixhawk, even the clones ;-)

Comment by Guy McCaldin on June 15, 2014 at 7:52pm

I played around with follow me mode on APM 2.91 DroidPlanner 1, with unsafe results.  Has the functionality been updated since then?  If so, would you be able to provide some details?  

Following the trail from the release notes leads to Arthur posting this a couple of weeks back:

@ne0fhyk Workable, but it still needs a better UI. Also I need to add a check for ArduCopter3.2 or higher, because without AC3,2 it can be destructive to use follow-me.

It's an awesome feature, but I want to make sure I understand the technical limitations before trying it again.


3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on June 15, 2014 at 7:59pm

Guy, yes, the feature has been totally reworked in Arducopter 3.2 and DroidPlanner 2. That's why we releasing it now, after much development and testing.

Along with checking to make sure that there isn't any "mode fighting" between RC and phone for control of the copter, the new DroidPlanner uses a "leash" algorithm to smooth the path, and the Arducopter 3.2 software now controls the camera to keep it on the object of interest, too. 


3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on June 15, 2014 at 8:28pm

F1P: Yep. Optical object tracking is on its way and coming after AVC. (We're using similar tech to spot and hit the red balloons as part of the competition) 

Comment by F1P on June 15, 2014 at 8:32pm

wOw! Great feature! Now become actual gimbal development w ability visal object tracking (OCV implementation t.e.)

Comment by Scott James on June 15, 2014 at 8:33pm

Awesome work!

Does he lock the case with the props sticking out  ;) 

Comment by Darrell Burkey on June 15, 2014 at 8:35pm

I've been waiting for this for some time now so I'm very excited by this announcement. Thanks so much to those who provided it. I don't suppose by chance my request to have the ability to add offsets to the following distance made it in to the release. I want to follow some rowers on a lake but I don't want it directly overhead. I'd like to be able to program it to have an offset in direction rather than just overhead. Is that possible? Also, this sounds like something new. Is it an improvement over 'Guided' mode? Thanks again. Keep up the great work.


3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on June 15, 2014 at 8:50pm

Yes, adjustable length offsets are in the official release. The next release (a few weeks) will have arbitrary offsets, which is exactly what you want.

Comment by Guy McCaldin on June 15, 2014 at 10:47pm

Great, thanks for the info Chris.  I look forward to testing this out soon.

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