Transcript: Planning A Surveillance Mission
Hi, this is the demonstration of mission planner flight software, just to give you a basic overview of how to use the program.
I encourage you to look over the documentation listed on the same page that you found the video to get a general understanding the different settings and configurations available for the software before you get started flying.
You can download a copy of the program at any time on the same webpage that the documentation is available.
You can actually do some the things that I’m showing you without physically having the UAV armed or linked to the program, just to get started, and so you can begin learning about the software itself and its functions.
So when you open up the program, the first thing you will notice is the telemetry information that is available to you.
You can see the altitude, the distance to your next waypoint, groundspeed, and so forth–things that aren’t necessarily going to be useful to you on daily basis, but are available and there lots of other different stats and configurations that can be found here, too.
The main function that you’re going to be using, however, is the flight planning tab, here.
Essentially, this section is used for planning a mission for when you want to use the UAV to go out into the field and gather data for you.
This video is going to demonstrate how to program a standard flight path that you would use for doing normal surveillance missions using the video camera’s ‘gimble payload,’.
To get started planning a mission, you need to use google earth to zoom in to an area that you would like to survey.
Here on the right, you can choose the type of map that you would like to use to find the area of interest for planning your mission.
Once you have zoomed in to the area that you would like to survey as close as you need to get the amount of detail that you want, you can right click on the map and program in a ‘takeoff waypoint.’
If you are using a bungee launcher, you would program your takeoff altitude to 10 meters, while for a hand launch, you would need about one meter.
As soon as the autopilot senses that UAV is travelling at least three meters per second in velocity and has reached its preprogrammed altitude threshold, the autopilot will kick in and the UAV will take on a life of its own.
So we’re going to go ahead and just select 10 meters here for the purposes of this video and the takeoff pitch will always be roughly 15 degrees, so we’ll just stick with that parameter for now.
Once you have programmed in the takeoff command, you will be able to see that, in the waypoints menu, here, you can switch that at any time, and then from there, you can go ahead and you can map your flight path.
Insert another waypoint after the first waypoint—which was our takeoff, so that after takeoff the UAV will automatically fly to this corner of the lot. If we click here again, we can insert another waypoint to this corner and another down here in this corner.
So as you can see, the waypoints are going to go in numerical order, and if we launch now, the UAV will first climb to the staring altitude, then hit points 2,3,4, and 5, and then from there, it will continue to circle in that order between the waypoints until you tell it to stop.
You can see here in the waypoints menu that the latitude and longitude is programmed in for each waypoint, and the altitude that it will be flying at can be adjusted.
You can also change the order of the flight path by using these arrows, here.
Overall, that’s the general premise of flying the UAV—for autonomous flight.
You’re also going to want to program in a landing waypoint so you can land the UAV automatically using a belly landing in a grassy area that has a decent clearing—preferably where there are no trees or any other obstructions around.
The UAV can then disengage the throttle, balance the wings, and land in an appropriate area. You’ll need about 100 meters of open space to do that.
To choose the preferred landing area, right click again and program a final landing waypoint—so if we want to land the UAV in this area, here, we can move the landing waypoint to this section of the map and it will be programmed in.
As you can see here in the waypoint menu, you have the parameters listed again, and at one meter in altitude, the UAV will disengage from automatic mode having completed its automatic flight path, and land safely on the ground.
If you would like to land the UAV manually using the included RC transmitter for higher precision, you can disengage from automatic mode at 10 meters or 50 meters—whatever your preference is.
We suggest that you use a flight simulator to get used to flying in manual mode before you try it yourself.
There are also some excellent and inexpensive motor gliders available on the market if you prefer a more hands-on approach to learning.
So that’s the general idea behind making an automated flight path for a normal surveillance mission.
Now I’ll show you some other menu options that are going to make your life much easier.
Since you have a live video feed back at your ground station, if you find something you would like to investigate more closely while you are flying, you can program the UAV to loiter around that particular point of interest.
at any time during the flight mission, you can also return the UAV to the point of launch, or where you connected the UAV to the ground station, by selecting RTL, or Return to launch.
The UAV will then return to its original launch waypoint without you needing to program in another waypoint or issue another command.
You can also save and load this flight mission if you would like to run it again at a later date without needing to re-plan it.
Additionally, you can set rally points so that, for instance, if you realize that you don’t have enough battery life to complete the flight path, or that you’re too far away from the return to launch area when you need to land, you can tell the UAV to land at a specified area or whichever rally point is closest to the UAV’s current location.
More information about rally points can be found in the accompanying documentation that is presented with the product, but this is generally used to compensate for a miscalculation in the flight time of the UAV if the mission has already been planned and saved into the UAV’s flight memory.
For example, when flying a very complex mission, you may not know with certainty how much distance you need to cover or how much distance you are able to cover because of changing wind or other variable weather patterns—whether or not you will be able to complete the mission, and will need to land prematurely in an area that you already know has proper clearing.
For this, you can program a rally point to ensure that you have a backup plan for the UAV to land on a moment’s notice.
You can also use the software to measure the distance between different waypoints to see how far you need to fly.
Until you are fully familiar with your hardware capabilities, it’s a good idea not to push the envelope too far and end up flying past an area where you cannot perform a manual landing if required.
So that is the conclusion of our video, feel free to ask us any questions about the operation of the software by email or by phone.
Thanks for watching and happy flying!