I wanted to try and build on a previous formation flying experiment where 2 drones were used (see more about that HERE) by adding one additional vehicle into the mix, making the formation a bit more complex, and attaching some cool LED orbs to the drones to create a cool effect when flying near twilight.
I thought this turned out pretty well! Powering all of those USB telemetry antennas out in the field may turn into a challenge since I am running out of USB ports on my laptop!
Similar to my previous 2 drone formation test, all of the position data for each drone is being handled by Systems Tool Kit (STK). I planned all flight paths in STK and use a Dronekit Python script to constantly ask STK for each drone's position and then instruct the drones in "GUIDED" mode to those positions.
What I find really cool while experimenting with these types of formation tests is the ability to animate the STK plan faster/slower or even play it in reverse and watch it all play out in the sky.
For some next steps, of course adding more drones is an option, but I would also like to start taking advantage of some of STK's more analytical capabilities to compute separation distances, relative velocities, and angles between vehicles and make decisions based on those calculations in real time, like a simple collision avoidance type of algorithm..... I'd have to really trust my algorithm before risking two of my drones though!!