UAV - Let´s make it even more autonomous!

Hey :)

My goals is to modify a 3DR X8+ octocopter to autonomously take off and land on a moving surface vehicle (a boat). The idea is to feed the drone with a certain GPS location. Then I´d like the drone to perform a 360° ROI flight around that positon, come back and land.

This is what I´ve been thinking of so far:

  • for the first flight stage (including ROI) I could easily write an autopilot mission and upload it to the autopilot
  • then -when it comes to return to my boat- I´d like to fly in guided mode so that the drone follows a GPS signal transmitted by the surface vehicle
  • once the drone is hovering above the boat I´d like to have an optical tracking system improving the landing accuracy

Unfortunately I haven´t worked with drones before! But I´m trying to catch up.

So this are the questions I have:

  • once I´m in guided mode how can I feed my drone with new GPS positions?
  • how can I send control commands without a control?

I´d really appreciate your help!

Thank you :)

Have a nice day.

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  • You find the "Follow me" by pressing ctrl+f in Mission Planner

  • T3

    Hi dronebohne.

    I am not 100% sure but I guess the main problem when taking of from a boat is that the gyro calibration will fail when the boat/copter is moving.

    Best regards,


    • Thanks for coming back to me.

      Good point!

      I haven't thought about that so far, but I will take it into consideration for further developing.

      I'm planning to develop an onshore solution anyways before taking it out to the ocean.



  • Hi,

    This seems like a challenging development.

    What you are suggesting seems like an extension of the "follow me" mode. The catch is on the mismatch between the copter GPS and the beacon (on the surface vehicle). The optical tracking might be able to deal with that, but will require a good estimate of the surface vehicle velocity vector.

    • Thanks for coming back to me.

      And yes it is kind of an extension of the Follow Me mode...

      so does anyone know how I could permanently send new GPS positions to the drone without using the MP?

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