Unless I'm mistaken I feel that diydrones would rather all flights use a Tx, but are we not very close to a point where we can to put an end of the Tx for drone multirotors as the primary flying device.  After all this is 'diydrones' not 'diyrc' and a Tx is just not very drone like.

I know there are some bad a$$ flyers out there, but for me I want more of a drone and less of an RC.

Push a button, take off, do a mission and return back home and autoland, use virtual controls if needed, more drone like.

With all the new functionality from that Arthur Benemann has packed into the latest droid planner 2, including 1 button take offs, follow me, dronie, guided and large screen phones and tablets it looks like we may be close.  All the strides that DJI and Parrot has done with virtual joysticks that are extremely accurate cant we get away from requiring the Tx.

We have geofence RTL, battery low RTL and tons of failsafes, we have continue mission if lost signal for those long missions.

The Tx is a great backup to the phone, but I have no backup for my Tx anyhow so why would I need a backup for my phone/tablet.  If battery on phone dies it can return launch.

Somehow the new Ghost is not even requiring a Tx at all.

Just my thoughts as id like to say bye forever of the requirement of a Tx :-)

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    • Gary, I like how you separated these classes, not all drones(quads) are the same, and the toy industry is one reason I did ask.  There are going to be tons of things coming out, but for me I am making more of a "border line" toy class with my LEGO drone, and really that's why I asked a few months ago if 3DR sold a mini pixhawk, since settled on a Mini APM.  Also why I asked about Trad Tx requirement, as one idea I also thought of was doing a smaller nerf material drone too.  Not all of us are flying heavy lifters or have any interest in doing projects in heavy lifters, some like me are actually wanting to make toy class with APM software too.


    • Edgar Scott wrote:  "... yes I do know how to fly been doing it for 10 years, at least once a month, maybe not as good as anyone here or as good as you but oh well."

      The issue isn't whether you can fly or how well, maybe you're Chuck Yaeger's instructor, nobody cares.  It's the  implications in this thread that at this time it is somehow possible to responsibly and safely fly a "serious" (meaning big enough to be obviously capable of causing serious injury or damage) UAV without learning to fly manually and without using hardware that is capable of reliably implementing that.

      People often read what they want into discussions or cherry-pick statements that justify what they're doing and thus it's important to be crystal-clear in a thread like this that possibilities, not actualities, are being discussed.  The very title of this thread implies that we are at, or on the brink of, doing away with what is in fact the only way today to safely fly our sorts of aircraft in the vicinity of people and/or vulnerable property. 

      It is breathtakingly irresponsible that that the owner of this site (and of the associated business) would chime in here with a casual-sounding remark that encourages such reckless and dangerous behavior. For him to state, "I haven't touched RC sticks for months" without qualifying that by stating that he is capable and equipped to do so (I have no idea if he can fly or not) does nothing but encourage people who look to this site for guidance to buy a RTF drone (like he sells) and launch it from their backyard without ever having flown a thing.  I'm not a lawyer, but I'll bet one would rub his hands in glee if that "Iris" or "Insipid" or whatever got into a little spot of, say,  GPS multipathing (pervasive in many, many sorts of locations) and slung itself into someone's face while the non-pilot  "operator" stares at it with frozen hands and slack jaw, unable to do a thing about it. The laws in many places will consider such an event to be reckless and perhaps criminal behavior, and for good reason, and liability might extend back to the vendor/maker (ask Cessna about that).   

      The sad thing is that it is not difficult to learn to fly well enough to take manual control when (not if) your drone throws a tantrum,  and thus have a good chance of saving your craft, and an even better chance of missing that baby buggy it's headed toward. Aside from which it's a lot of fun.    


    • Chim, I know what your saying and I do love your concern.  But this could be a wonderful opportunity to come up with something better, after all I did title it "Traditional Tx", it does not need to be a tablet or phone, and several have some up with other ideas, some better than others, like tablet/hybrids with physical sticks and ground stations, so I don't find this thread so bad.  The liability is just the same for a Cessna with a TX or Ground Station, ever look at dragon link, its all dangerous and no matter how we fly we have to do it as safe as possible and follow the rules.

  • We're prototyping a ground control station at the moment using our Wing control device. There is an image of the design-in-progress below.

    You can operate the mission planner and fly the aircraft with the Wing so don't need a normal transmitter at all. However, that means everything goes through the PC link and ideally we want to remove this as a potential failure point. We'll have to split the output from the Wing so one branch goes straight to a separate transmitter PCB and aerial. Until then, we're keeping a spare twin-stick transmitter ready.


  • One vote here for this is NOT a good idea... why there are tons of people always trying to control these things

    with phones, blue-tooth and wi-fi is beyond me... sorry, we just aren't at the XBox360 stage yet, nor should we be.

  • IMO, none of this matters until a better power source is available, such as a practical fuel cell to increase flight times.

    The nemesis of every electric powered vehicle is the battery.

  • Well that would be ok for those who do not do this as a hobby, for fun doing it your way would take most of the fun out of flying the actual machines , and I think that most of us got into this because we wanted to actually fly and control the craft.

    just my 2 cents thoughts.

  • There are obvious major benefits to standard physical stick configurations for safety and control over any non physical application. But I do believe there will soon come a day that this will change and the almost endless amount of safety benefits still to be unlocked of computer assisted flying with an application like DroidPlanner will out weigh the safety of a completely manual stick in the very near future, such as preventing take offs within 3 miles from an airport, near a hospital, highway or other public safety locations something that a Trad Tx just can not do and the FAA wants to prevent.   Don’t worry I do not want to take away your Trad Tx controller option or say that people should not learn flying safety, but there is no reason to not start thinking that soon manual control will just become an optional part of our every day flying.

    • To answer you question in short: No.

      As always, it is not as black and white as you might first expect.

      If by traditional Tx you mean a dedicated box with two sticks and an aerial than I think, YES, it will eventually be replaced but not made totally redundant. It will still be a dedicated controller but more intuitive. 

      Are phones, tablets etc an option? Then, yes but they should not be the only means of flight control.  These are not purpose built controllers needed to safely control an aircraft.

      As autonomous flight becomes more sophisticated then we will rely less on the remote and more on the power of the on board systems. However, I think there will always be the requirement that a dedicated and separate controller is part of the system.  I also feel that an understanding of flying and training to attain a basic skill level should also be mandatory. Making safety the domain of out iPad's seems foolish to me.  While I agree that flight near airports etc. should be restricted and controlled buy the autopilot we should be very careful not to take the responsibility of safe flying away from the pilot.  I can't imagine anything worse than the excuse "It let me take off so I thought it was safe".

      Your question, for me in any case, starts to get into what you consider a toy and what is a more sophisticated and inherently dangerous UAV. The autonomy of the toy market is great and we will eventually see advances made in this segment flow into the more DIY style of drones (Fixed wing or multi rotor/heli) but it is by its nature the systems designed for the toy end are for smaller, less dangerous and less capable machines where phone/tablet control is ok and part of the marketing strategy.

      Bigger, heavier, faster and more complicated machines should be able to fly autonomously but also require that the operator be able to take manual control and fly safely (not just for emergencies).  The traditional controller will one day be replaced by a dedicated control system that my be touch screen based or have new forms of input with 3D sticks, voice or motion control but it should still be a dedicated controller and not an application that is added to a device made for phone calls and emails.

      Think about the future where autonomous flight is really safe and reliable and it is also available at a reasonable price to everyone.  You can buy a drone, push a button and fly a mission. Hang on, its is already here (well the last part is, safe and reliable are still off somewhere in the near future!)

      Should anyone be able to buy an airframe, push a button on their phone and launch a drone? 

      Do you think that drone operators should understand what they are flying and be capable of flying manually (even if they intend to use autonomous modes)? 

      What ever you answers it should be obvious that a dedicated, safe, reliable, secure and intuitive method of control will always be required no matter how smart our machines become.  If you can not fly your aircraft  at a basic level you should not be flying at all.  Especially right now, with current technology, we all need to acknowledge that flying drones safely (I hate the word but it seems to have stuck. BTW, I am referring to "Drones", not "safely") requires some understanding of the mechanics/electronics and physics involved with flight and also demands that pilots always be able to fly their aircraft at a skill level where recovery from an emergency is possible.  Just the basics of launching, controlled flight (circuits, orientation etc.) and landing.  You can't do that without a dedicated Tx now or in the future!.

    • > by traditional Tx you mean a dedicated box with two sticks
      Yes, and very nicely put.  Of course a dedicated device is a good requirement for now and the future but can still be small and portable and provide more functionality than a Trad Tx for someone in the field.

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