I've had the pleasure of beta testing a new Android based Mapping/VR/Modelling GCS for 3DR Solo. In addition to Solo support it also supports both Pixhawk based fixed wing and multicopters. DJI Phanton3/Inspire 1 compatibility is likely to follow.
It is refreshing to see a GCS for Pixhawk that is as easy to use as my Sensefly eBee, requiring zero piloting skills, and 100% flown using a tablet PC. I recorded the above video yesterday during another test mission. The only time I touched the RC controller was to turn it on and off, otherwise, the app armed the motors, flew the solo, landed it, disarmed the motors, and then Geo-tagged all the photos, ready for upload for map processing.
So if you aircraft starts to fly-away/deviate, as they often do because of faulty hardware/software, all the pre-checks in the world aren't going to save your aircraft. A pilot with piloting skills that can take control, has a chance.
One year from now will look pretty much like it does today with the exception that a few more folks will venture down the path of multi-UAV flight and discover how difficult it is to realize safe flight and how frail this technology is at the moment.
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The app shows the estimated photo coverage based on the known camera parameters (focal length, sensor size) and the location of the image trigger. The images are not being sent in real time. Geotagging is done on the ground after the flight using the cameras SD card.
Will pm you our latest quad with 50 minutes flight time and mirrorless camera payload.
Congrats for the achievement!!
Small question: is it transmitting the captured image by the camera (go pro) real time to the ground Station? Or the image taken shown while the copter fly were just for "animation" purpose?
@earthpatrol, I suggest you take another look this time next year and you'll realise how wrong you were to make such a statement!
@earthpatrol My experience over the last couple of years has been that 100% of my failures/crashes were due to pilot error. Its my personal opinion (probably not shared by many others) that if you take human failure out of the equation you will have a safer system.
So now that the software and hardware in a RTF system like a solo is very reliable, it would be better training up people in maintenance. Although trianing someone up in piloting skills is still better than none at all, but not as important as maintenance or understanding a preflight checklist etc.
I just get to play with the app, tell him how to make it more user friendly.
@Hai_Tran it's been my experience flying "drones' that they are not really ready for prime time when it comes to reliable/bulletproof autonomy. Your app replicates what has already been in Paparazzi for many years. There's a lot of experience in the Paparazzi community flying in this manner. Diversified and redundant radio/telemetry connections for control of an aircraft are critical. Having been witness to hundreds of these types of flights, taking the human element out is premature at this point. That's the harsh reality vs. the video game mentality. It's not about the technology it's about safe flight and how do we achieve that. Pushing buttons on a touch device, doesn't really educate the user with respect to best-of-practices when it comes to safe flight. Maybe this app could evaluate the flying skills of the pilot before allowing them to proceed to autonomous flight to improve the odds that they can actually fly as opposed to just having enough disposable income to push buttons.