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HelicopterAerial Photography and Video › picopilot 3500 hl, DJI, micropilot...
09-04-2009 11:32 PM  8 years agoPost 1
aeronautica

rrApprentice

Colombia

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Does anyone have some knowledge of the differences of these products? The DJI is only for hovering, the pico and the micropilot are for waypoint, how are they for hovering? what will happen if the GPS signal is weak? Which is best for industrial use (a lot of use as an AP ship)

thanks

Juan

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09-04-2009 11:51 PM  8 years agoPost 2
ErichF

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Sutton, NH

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Unless you are experienced with UAV autpilot integration, you should go with the DJI. It is the only available, consumer grade, autopilot on the market. I understand that waypoint nav is just around the corner.

Erich

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09-05-2009 12:06 AM  8 years agoPost 3
nooobs

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web

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09-05-2009 12:15 AM  8 years agoPost 4
rerazor

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Mich.

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Just out of curiosity where did you get your false information about the DJI?

Erich,
I'm waiting to hear when I will get the way point nav. I always go to the Clearwater area in the winter to visit family. Maybe I will ship one of the helis down and we can meet up.

Robert

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09-05-2009 12:18 AM  8 years agoPost 5
ErichF

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Sutton, NH

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Nicely flown, Noobs. The DJI does a great job at altitude control and wind management.

The only problem I see with the DJI at this point is that it is easy to out fly the range of your RC system, if you fly FPV. The current setup is that if you lose RC link, it will enter a stationary hover. Once waypoints are available, it can fly back to your location to regain link. For now, you will have to go catch up with your bird before the gas or batteries run out.

Erich

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09-05-2009 12:19 AM  8 years agoPost 6
ErichF

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Sutton, NH

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Erich,
I'm waiting to hear when I will get the way point nav. I always go to the Clearwater area in the winter to visit family. Maybe I will ship one of the helis down and we can meet up
That would be great, Robert. I may be relocating before then, though. Keep in touch.

Erich

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09-05-2009 05:52 AM  8 years agoPost 7
ehx

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Northern Minnesota

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Well, DJI is fairly new, but it's designed for helicopters and it works. The others you mentioned (Micropilot and U-Nav) are really spin-offs of fixed-wing autopilots. They don't seem to have made a smooth transition to helicopters as to where there are many end-users (with helis) getting good results. I think even ErichF ended up moving a Micropilot system from a gas heli to a plank because of problems.

There are other heli autopilots out there. Carvec has been around for nearly five years with similar (actually a bit more) functionality then the current DJI system and you will find many satisfied end-users.

As of now I don't think the Micropilot is quite ready for prime time and the U-Nav certainly isn't. You would hear more about them if they were.

For typical AP usage I don't think waypoint navigation is that much of a help. Sure, eventually you want to sit at home and send your UAV off, perhaps many kilometers, to take some pictures/video and then return on its own. But, legally or just being smart at this point in time is it a good idea? Line-of-sight work (< 1 km) can be done quite well with "auto-hover" autopilots and FPV.

In short, Carvec = proven for helis, DJI = proven for helis
Micropilot = jury is still out, U-Nav = jury is still out.

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09-05-2009 07:45 PM  8 years agoPost 8
DKTek

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Melbourne, FL-USA

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I'm out of country for now but I plan on getting the DJI system for my machines when I return home. Maybe the waypoint nav will be available by then. I have a few machines so I will drive them up to visit Robert for some help with the install's and test flying. Possibly use the first one to get some air to air while the second is being test flown...

The beatings will continue until morale improves...

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09-06-2009 02:25 AM  8 years agoPost 9
rerazor

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Mich.

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Way point nav will be used mostly for surveillance etc...

It might be "cheaper" for me to come to Florida as the weather turns cold here. "Honey I'll be right back"

Robert

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09-06-2009 02:36 AM  8 years agoPost 10
ErichF

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Sutton, NH

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You know, I imagine waypoint navigation to be most useful with an AP bird for creating map imagery. With waypoints, you can make several, even passes with proper overlap for stitching, without wasting endurance.

Let say you have an engineering firm that wants to explore a potential right of way for a pipeline or power transmission corridor. Using a typical AP bird setup with a camera taking high res pics every 5 seconds, flying at 25 fps at 400 feet in a parallel-track pattern would yield a tremendous amount of real-time data for the engineers. By using a couple known references, the map can be stitched together and easily geo-rectified.

I don't see much use for the consumer to go out and do surveillance, unless maybe a rancher checking his fence lines.

Erich

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09-06-2009 03:18 AM  8 years agoPost 11
rerazor

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Mich.

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I have had some law enforcement that were interested. It seems everybody wants a helicopter but none of them want to learn to fly a helicopter.

I agree, I don't see the way point nav. being very popular with consumers that do the normal AP.

Robert

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09-06-2009 03:54 AM  8 years agoPost 12
mickmikeyboy

rrNovice

tacoma, wa

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Hey rerazor, next time you're around Tacoma, Washington let me know and bring one of your helis, I'm very interested in the DJI system, particularly now with their warranty, don't get too excited though cause the funds are a ways off, gotta build the heli first .
I'm actually at a police academy in New Mexico now, will be back home in November Fortunately I already know how to fly a heli, will be doing AP for personal use however I'm sure at some stage the PD might need some AP work.

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09-06-2009 12:58 PM  8 years agoPost 13
DKTek

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Melbourne, FL-USA

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I'm gone for a while but I'm not the usual AP guy. I have several uses for waypoint nav. Was considering the WePilot but the DJI seems more usefull...and fun.

The beatings will continue until morale improves...

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09-06-2009 01:02 PM  8 years agoPost 14
nooobs

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web

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09-06-2009 01:09 PM  8 years agoPost 15
AceBird

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Utica, NY USA

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It seems everybody wants a helicopter but none of them want to learn to fly a helicopter.
Gee, that seems odd to me. I would think the pitfall is maintaining the heli or learning how to maintain it. Everybody wants to fly it even if they don't know the first thing about it.

Ace
What could be more fun?

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09-06-2009 01:11 PM  8 years agoPost 16
fionn

rrApprentice

Ireland

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Guided Systems Piccolo

Some guys on DIY Drones posted a great vid using this autopilot a few days ago. The video shows it flying a 200m x 200m waypoint grid at high speed.
http://www.vimeo.com/6367156

http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs...age=21#comments

I'm not sure how much the autopilot costs but the cheapest RTF system on their website is $55k.

http://www.guidedsys.com/

Based on this old RCG thread I'd take a guess that the heli autopilot must be in the $20k range including the groundstation.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=392073

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09-06-2009 02:18 PM  8 years agoPost 17
aeronautica

rrApprentice

Colombia

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ap applications with waypoint navigation

My question on this electronic equipment, belongs to the need to get the capability to perform some “engineering pictures” I leave in a area with a lot of mountains, so the use of a fixed wing with a simple waypoint navigation as a ODS + GPS is not an option, our efforts are in the direction to produce vertical images, that can be stitched as a mosaic at equal altitude

I tried to do some patterns on my heli to make a mosaic, while the camera is vertical at same altitude, but it is almost impossible¡¡¡

If I have the help of a system to have waypoint navigation at 100m altitude, the resolutions will be so nice and the results so detailed, for example for mining and civil engineering in small areas

Wich equipment will give us this capability to perform flight patterns to cover an area of 1 km2

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09-06-2009 02:55 PM  8 years agoPost 18
fionn

rrApprentice

Ireland

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Well first of all 100m is not very high to be flying in mountainous terrain. Bear in mind that you shiuld be flying at an altitude of least 10x the maximum terrain relief in order to minimise error in your imagery. For an area as small as 1km2 I would just use a stabilised heli with an altitude downlink and / or osd. Carvec core unit with the mount controller would help ensure verticality of your imagery, get the gps position hold upgrade if you want to go higher. Whats the issue with using a fixed wing, take off and landing space?A heli should give better results for small areas anyway.

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09-06-2009 06:36 PM  8 years agoPost 19
ehx

rrApprentice

Northern Minnesota

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For mapping applications waypoint navigation is useful. Especially once you get to transects in the 1km range or more.

You can run nice transects with an auto-hover (GPS-based) autopilot. Just holding the stick in one direction will give you a nice straight line in that direction because GPS is used for the course. It's fairly easy to fly grid patterns. Add an OSD with waypoint functionality and grid patterns are simple. With some practice and for small areas you can even just "eyeball it" without an OSD. Of course having the autopilot do it for you is easier, but for smaller areas this method works well. I've been doing it for years.

A couple notes on doing this work. Creating true high-quality (engineering quality) maps is quite difficult. You get great resolution with the camera so close to the ground, but this magnifies a host of other problems. You cover very little area per shot. Since you are covering such a small area even a little bit of a pitch or roll in the camera can result in a ground image that is somewhat "out-of-step" with what you want. Stabilizing the camera to always point vertically helps. Relief distortion can be huge. It really needs to be eliminated for serious work (search on Orthophoto). As a general rule it's best to fly as high as possible - still getting the resolution you need - so you can minimize the number of images and processing you have to do.

Creating high quality maps is much more difficult then programming an autopilot to run some transects at a given height above ground, snap pictures at some interval, dump the images into PTI (or whatever) to mosaic, find a few control points on the resulting mosaic that you can get real-world coordinates for. Use these to rectify your map and your done. This process can create a map that looks reasonable to the untrained eye, but if you try to overlay ground survey-quality data on it it's quite unlikely to match up very well.

I'm not trying to discourage you. Just trying to let you know what you are in for if engineering-quality maps are what you want. Again, look up the orthophoto process.

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09-06-2009 07:43 PM  8 years agoPost 20
ErichF

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Sutton, NH

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Well, I just got home from flying, and I had the chance to fly a DJI equipped stretched Logo. All I have to say is...wow.

That system, for a consumer-priced outfit, is the smoothest, easiest to operate system I have seen, to include some commercial grade OEM stuff. I could hand jam the sticks and the heli still operated just as smooth. Starts and stops from full speed were well regulated with no drop or increase in altitude.

I'll take two, please!

Erich

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