The dev team is delighted to give a Christmas present to ArduPlane users in the form of a new geo-fencing feature!

Geo-fencing allows you to define a GPS fence around your flying area, plus a minimum and maximum altitude. Within the fence you can fly ArduPlane normally in any mode you like. If you go outside the fenced area then the APM will automatically take over and bring the plane back to a pre-defined return point, ready for you to have another go.

We're hoping that this feature will both help beginners learn to fly, and also allow experts to perfect complex aerobatic stunts while minimising the risk of a crash. It is also ideal for ensuring that local club rules on flight boundaries and maximum altitude are followed.

You can read all about how to setup and use the new feature in the ArduPlane wiki, but I thought it might be fun to tell you about a test I did of geo-fencing yesterday at my local flying field.

It was Christmas eve, and I was at CMAC testing the geo-fencing code. A family had turned up to watch the planes flying, including Wilson, a 5 year old who loves aeroplanes

I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to test geo-fencing as a training tool, so I asked Wilson if he'd like to try flying a plane by himself. As you might imagine, he enthusiastically agreed!

I took up my SkyWalker with the APM2 fitted, and then enabled the geo-fence. At first I put it in a loiter at about 70 meters, and showed Wilson how he could control the loiter using the transmitter sticks. After mastering that we put the plane in FBWA mode, and Wilson flew it himself. He was delighted!

The fencing really made a difference, as he made some mistakes and flew outside the defined area or too low a few times, but each time the APM took over and brought the plane back to the return point, where it loitered ready for him to have another go. We then flicked the trainer switch to give him control again, and he took the plane around more than a dozen circuits. Not bad for the first time flying a plane at that age!

I also did some test flights with my SkyFun yesterday, and I was delighted to find it worked very well with geo-fencing. One of the reasons I added the geo-fencing feature was to help me improve my manual flying skills. I've found that flying with the APM stabiliser enabled means that my flying skills don't improve as much as I'd like, so I really wanted to practice flying more in manual mode, but I also found that in manual I tend to crash far too often. With the geo-fence enabled I can fly in manual with a safety net. That allows me to really improve my flying skills without crashing. It means I don't need to remember to change modes when I get in trouble - the APM is constantly monitoring my position and altitude, and if I am about to crash it takes over and brings the plane back ready for another try. Great fun!

Many thanks to Wilson for test flying the new ArduPlane code and happy Christmas to ArduPlane users everywhere!

Views: 3102

Comment by Claudio Natoli on December 24, 2011 at 7:50pm

Nice work there Tridge! Looking forward to trying this out.

Comment by Don Brooks on December 24, 2011 at 11:16pm
This is gonna be a fantastic too for teaching kids RC flight!

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Comment by Martint BuildYourOwnDrone.co.uk on December 25, 2011 at 12:40am

Hi Andrew,

 

You know this is just so good! I often think what can be done next with the Arudpilot, when items like this one springs up on the forums you just know that there is so many more things out there that you never thought about. 

 

Regards

 

Martin.

Comment by Cliff Dearden on December 25, 2011 at 2:20am

Brilliant idea, well done.

Comment by Dronius on December 25, 2011 at 2:30am
Nice!
Comment by Tero Koivunen on December 25, 2011 at 3:27am

Interesting!

Is this soon "tagged" version 2.27 or 2.28?

Still APM 1.0 owner :-/

Comment by avionics on December 25, 2011 at 3:44am

What a good idea Thanks !

 

Comment by Russkel on December 25, 2011 at 4:22am
This is brilliant, Andrew. Something I will be looking into if I can't get a hang of flying this damn thing.

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Comment by UnmannedTechShop.co.uk on December 25, 2011 at 6:49am

That is a really great feature, well done!

Will be very useful to help people learn to fly

Comment by koen.hufkens on December 25, 2011 at 9:14am

Wonderful, nice work!

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