Follow Me Test! Success!

ArduPlane, APM2.6 and Mission Planner come together to make an awesome feature called "Follow Me" where the ground station sends the airplane it's GPS location and the airplane will go to that location, even follow it as it moves!

I tested it today and it performed perfectly. This will be a valuable feature during the USA trip where I'll be able to use it if we have to suddenly change course or request the airplane return to us quickly.


Safety Statement: To maintain safety, I prepared by doing many thing things including:
-obtaining personal permission from a vast majority of property owners (I couldn't reach all of them)
-maintained a continues watch for full scale aircraft, and;
-maintained direct control of the aircraft for the majority of the flight
-this airplane and system has OVER 1,000 MILES of perfect performance, with 90% of it autonomous with this exact set up. It has been tried and proven many, many times, including over 200km of cross country flights
-the autopilot was programmed to continue to fly after a signal loss, which has been tested and proven to perform many, many times
-the flight was over a very open and low populated area, with 99%+ of the area being open fields or trees
-the altitude read over 120m, but elevation increased during flight as I took off out of a low valley. True AGL for the flight is 100-120m.
-avoided all airports and populated areas.
-I've flown at this location 3-5 times a week for the last year. I know it very, very well.
-I conducted test flights with the new set up that I did not show during the video to confirm stable performance

Raptor 140b+ Stats:
Weight: 2280g
Max Flight Time: 70min
Max Range: 97km
Stall Speed: 35kph
Cruise Speed: 90kph
Max Speed: 135kph
Radio Range: 1.5km
Energy Carried: 167wh (15,000mAh at 11.1v)
Drive Power: 850w
Total Flight Time on Craft: 7.0 hours
Total Flight Distance on Craft: 498km

The equipment used---
Raptor 140 airplane:

Radio Tx: ParkeFlyer Turnigy 9x Tx:
Telemtry: 915mhz 100mW 3DR
Laptop: Compaq Presario CG57
GPS Dongle:

Flight Controller: APM2.6
Reciever: 6ch FlySky
Telemtry: 915mhz 100mW 3DR
Battery: (3) 5.0Ah 20C Lipo:
ESC: 60A Brushless
Motor: 3542 1450kv brushless
Prop: 10x7 Carbon Fiber Folding
Servos: 11g digital
Onboard camera:

Learn More:
Raptor Details:
USA Trip Details:

Follow the Show:
Skype: MyGeekShow

Filmed, Edited, Produced and Published by Trent in Arkansas, USA

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  • Just as a FYI - I picked up the same GPS dongle as Trent since I was lazy and the dongle was cheap. Make sure you grab the SiRF tools to configure the GPS. I had to configure the GPS for NMEA @4800 baud. GPSd in Linux likes to throw it into SiRF protocol for some reason. 

    As a side note the GPS dongle works with Mac, Windows and Linux. So when you're not following yourself you can run a NTP server :-D

  • Trent, FYI, someone has already done it!!

    I will probably play around with this stuff end of next month when I have some time.

  • MR60

    gg Trent.

    You made me laugh ;), your geek infection is so high, this is incurable! Driving and watching a laptop with an antenna on the roof and a drone chasing...

    Seriously, very impressive technical mastering and performance!

  • Rana: 3.0.0! I'm keeping up with the updates until a month or so from the USA trip.

    Simon: Very true... crazy how ahead of the game some of the early pioneers were.

    Jim: Ha ha! Thanks! I agree with your earlier statement. I really should have found a driver. It went well and was safe enough, but a driver would have allowed for a better video and a safer test. A "follow me" chase plane idea would be awesome! Maybe set them to slightly different altitudes to prevent a collision?  

  • Ok, Trent. I will be nice today. I was thinking about trying out the follow me feature as well. However, did you consider using two planes, one for following and the other as the lead? So basically you could fly two planes in formation.

  • Fun, i remember when Holger first published this almost 5 years ago...


  • Excellent Trent ! which version of Arduplane f/w did you use ?

  • Thank you for expressing your opinion Jim.

  • Maybe get a friend to drive the car... I am sure it is not legal to drive, fly, and show footage for your show on any road at the same time. I thought texting was bad.

  • The follow me feature is cool. However, I am laughing at your SAFETY statement after seeing you fly, video tape, and pay a lot of attention to a laptop while driving a vehicle. Your a good example of giving UAV flying a bad name...

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