Aerial imaging using small, unmanned aircraft systems. Also, I work at DJI.

Had fun shooting a so-called #dronie with friends, this morning (posted to Instagram). Phantom 2 with H3-3D gimbal and GoPro HERO 3+ Black. Fun!

Comments
I love using large sensors in the air. I drove to Palomar Observatory today and sent the Phantom 2 Ricoh GR up for a few pictures (nowhere near the structures). Last year, I read Richard Preston’s First Light: The Search for the Edge of the Universe, which made visiting the observatory all the more special.
The modified Phantom 2 is a bit heavy to fly at 5,620’ (elevation of the observatory), but it did fairly well. It was a windy day, and the quad was much harder to control than it is at sea level. I routinely saw large changes in pitch and roll, even when all I was doing was throttling up. The most important thing to note when flying at altitude is that descent has to be done *very* slowly and carefully. A heavy bird at this altitude can easily end up falling through its own prop wash without enough lift to get it back in control. This started to happen to me when I was bringing it in for landing, and I had to pitch forward really aggressively to move laterally out of the turbulence.

I love using large sensors in the air. I drove to Palomar Observatory today and sent the Phantom 2 Ricoh GR up for a few pictures (nowhere near the structures). Last year, I read Richard Preston’s First Light: The Search for the Edge of the Universe, which made visiting the observatory all the more special.

The modified Phantom 2 is a bit heavy to fly at 5,620’ (elevation of the observatory), but it did fairly well. It was a windy day, and the quad was much harder to control than it is at sea level. I routinely saw large changes in pitch and roll, even when all I was doing was throttling up. The most important thing to note when flying at altitude is that descent has to be done *very* slowly and carefully. A heavy bird at this altitude can easily end up falling through its own prop wash without enough lift to get it back in control. This started to happen to me when I was bringing it in for landing, and I had to pitch forward really aggressively to move laterally out of the turbulence.

Comments

How to install DJI Ground Station in a Phantom 2

image

Not long ago, DJI release iPad Ground Station, an iPad app and hardware combination that allows Phantoms and other DJI-powered multicopters to fly autonomous missions using waypoints. iPad Ground Station is a free app in the Apple App Store, but it requires that you purchase and install 2.4G Bluetooth Data Link. This post is specifically about installing Data Link into a Phantom 2.

image

It can be hard to imagine how all these parts work together. Data Link has actually been an existing product for some time, but it was previously used with Windows-based ground station software, and normally on higher-end multicopters like the S800. Adding an iPad Ground Station app makes the whole package much easier to use, even on Phantoms, with which dedicated ground stations aren’t the norm. Ground Station is described as a Bluetooth solution… so how does iPad use Bluetooth to talk to your Phantom 2 over such long distances? Ground Station package includes both “ground” and “air” ends, and those are what actually talk to each other. The iPad does use Bluetooth, but talks only to a Bluetooth CAN BUS adapter that plugs into the ground end (included in the Data Link package). Your iPad doesn’t have to try to talk to the multicopter, directly; instead, it only needs to talk to the ground end of the system, which uses its more-powerful transceiver to talk to the air end, which is installed in the Phantom.

Read More

Comments

If you are too impatient to wait for DJI to come out with Ground Station support for the Phantom 2 Vision / Vision+, you can add CAN-BUS to your Vision yourself and get support immediately. The video above is by Gary Hilton, who made his own CAN-BUS cable and installed 2.4G Datalink to enable Ground Station support.

Gary is going to start making and selling custom cables, but he also says that you can also purchase a replacement landing skid for your Phantom 2, which comes with both a CAN-BUS connector and cable, which you can simply plug into your Phantom 2 Vision motherboard.

Read More

Comments
I was part of a great interview on Monday on some cliffs overlooking a beautiful Northern-Californian beach. The waves were breaking in tight sets, and the aerial view straight down was spectacular. Shot in Adobe DNG raw using a DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ quadcopter.

I was part of a great interview on Monday on some cliffs overlooking a beautiful Northern-Californian beach. The waves were breaking in tight sets, and the aerial view straight down was spectacular. Shot in Adobe DNG raw using a DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ quadcopter.

Comments
It turns out that you *can* stuff a DJI 2.4G Bluetooth Datalink (buy) and an iOSD mini (buy) into the shell of a Phantom 2. This flagship Phantom 2 is configured with Ground Station support, a Zenmuse H3-3D 3-axis GoPro gimbal, GoPro with Ragecams lens mod, and Boscam TS353 5.8G 400mW FPV transmitter. The radio has a Black Pearl 7” monitor with integrated 5.8Ghz diversity receiver mounted on a Rave Aerial Video monitor mount.
I’m going to test it out tomorrow. Hope it works well. ;)

It turns out that you *can* stuff a DJI 2.4G Bluetooth Datalink (buy) and an iOSD mini (buy) into the shell of a Phantom 2. This flagship Phantom 2 is configured with Ground Station support, a Zenmuse H3-3D 3-axis GoPro gimbal, GoPro with Ragecams lens mod, and Boscam TS353 5.8G 400mW FPV transmitter. The radio has a Black Pearl 7” monitor with integrated 5.8Ghz diversity receiver mounted on a Rave Aerial Video monitor mount.

I’m going to test it out tomorrow. Hope it works well. ;)

Comments
Here are a few sample raw Adobe DNG still pictures from the new Phantom 2 Vision+, for your evaluation. The download is good for 14 days. Photos were taken from right above the Wynn’s swimming pool, insured and with permission, during a media event.

Here are a few sample raw Adobe DNG still pictures from the new Phantom 2 Vision+, for your evaluation. The download is good for 14 days. Photos were taken from right above the Wynn’s swimming pool, insured and with permission, during a media event.

Comments

Hello, everyone. Details are out about the new Phantom No Fly Zones and how exactly they restrict your flying. This new feature will be activated if you update your Phantom 2 series quadcopter to the newest firmware (3.0). If you do not want to be subject to this new restriction, you may elect not to install the update. You can also switch your Phantom to Naza-M mode. (Update: R&D confirms that the feature does affect Naza-M mode in Phantoms, but not the standalone Naza-M controller).

The No Fly Zone restrictions are different than are the restrictions in Ground Station, which are more conservative and do not let you set waypoints within 5 mi (8 km) of any major airport.

Read More

Comments

DJI announced the Phantom 2 Vision+ today. It features an integrated, 3-axis-stabilized, 14-megapixel camera capable of shooting at 1080/30p (or 720/60p), and talks to an app on your smart phone to give you liveview from the camera as well as useful telemetry like battery life remaining. It also allows you to take pictures, start and stop video, and change lots of camera settings like exposure. And, 3-axis, gimbal-stabilized video is ridiculously stable.

We shot and edited some videos using the new Vision+ (below).

Read More

Comments
Some folks have been expressing concern (in the internet freak out sort of way) out about a page on the DJI website that says, exactly:

"Intro: In order to increase flight safety and prevent accidental flights in restricted areas, Ground Station includes a No Waypoint Zone feature. Each No Waypoint Zone covers an 8KM (5 mile) radius of major airports. Inside these areas, waypoints cannot be set."

Note that all this page says is that that when you use Ground Station, you cannot set Waypoints within 5 miles of major airports (Class B, if you want to look it up). There is a scary map that shows the no-waypoint zones. Note also that this page does not say anything about no-fly zones.
As part of the Fly Safe initiative, there will be safety measures that restrict flying around airports, but it will be much less conservative than the no-waypoint feature. Full details about the new Fly Safe features will be out shortly. DJI could certainly have done better about releasing all of the information at the same time. We’ll do better, next time.
Update: More details are out!

Some folks have been expressing concern (in the internet freak out sort of way) out about a page on the DJI website that says, exactly:

"Intro: In order to increase flight safety and prevent accidental flights in restricted areas, Ground Station includes a No Waypoint Zone feature. Each No Waypoint Zone covers an 8KM (5 mile) radius of major airports. Inside these areas, waypoints cannot be set."

Note that all this page says is that that when you use Ground Station, you cannot set Waypoints within 5 miles of major airports (Class B, if you want to look it up). There is a scary map that shows the no-waypoint zones. Note also that this page does not say anything about no-fly zones.

As part of the Fly Safe initiative, there will be safety measures that restrict flying around airports, but it will be much less conservative than the no-waypoint feature. Full details about the new Fly Safe features will be out shortly. DJI could certainly have done better about releasing all of the information at the same time. We’ll do better, next time.

Update: More details are out!

Comments