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Question about return to home function using the controller

Rich Z

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I am sorry if this has been covered here somewhere and I just didn't find it.

Anyone have experience with the RTH function with the Skydio 2 when using the controller?

In particular, does the Obstacle Avoidance continue to work during the trip back home?

Are there selectable options to control the height parameters when RTH is triggered? In other words, a minimum height and a maximum height? Return to launch or return to controller option?

Any other wrinkles worth noting?

Thanks!
 

VortexLABS

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I have used the RTL function with my Skydio Controller quite a few times. I’ll try my best to answer each of your questions.

Obstacle avoidance does continue to work even when enabling RTL. The aircraft should fly near its starting point but not land. Obstacle avoidance is NOT available when landing and as long as you have updated to the latest software, the lights on your S2 should flash yellow to let you know that obstacle avoidance is unavailable.

There are not any selectable options regarding height parameters as the S2 can navigate through dense and difficult (visually) environments. However, you are able to choose between Return to Launch and Return to Phone.

I hope this helps, let us know if you have any other questions!

Cheers 👍
 

Rich Z

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Thanks for the reply.

With other drones I have, the RTH options normally include a setting that will, upon RTH triggering, force the drone to attain a specified altitude before beginning the trip back towards home base. This is beneficial in my circumstance, because I live on heavily wooded acreage. Matter of fact, when I launch, I have to take the drone straight up to clear trees all around the small clearing I have near the garage, then once clear of the tree tops, I can head out horizontally. If I were to bring the drone down near my stream or some other small clearing at distance, and the connection gets lost, the drone would then raise to the designated safe height before heading back horizontally to me.

So how does the Skydio handle something like this? If I were to fly the Skydio the same way as mentioned above, even if I did not lower the Sydio once out horizontally, maintaining, say 200 ft height, and it got 1000 ft horizontally away from me, if RTH is triggered because I ran out of signal strength, what does it do? Does it make a beeline back to me using a diagonal path? Which in my case would be through a pretty heavy layer of tree tops. Or does it maintain the vertical height and then once nearly above, then descend to land?

My worry is that if the Sydio is out at the limits of travel and I do lose connection (which has happened often enough on my Xioami Mi 4K and my Parrot Anafi) RTH has always brought them back home without issues. So I can pretty much bet that when I do get my Skydio, when I try flying it in the same manner using the controller, I'm pretty sure I will lose connection simply flying out to the edges of my own property. If it tries to fly directly back to me during RTH diagonally through the trees, I'm guessing I am going to wind up with this Skydio stuck between trees somewhere waiting for me to come find it. Even if it doesn't crash against small branches which are notoriously at the tops of pine trees.

Oh yeah, I did mention that I have a stream, which is on the north end of the property. The people at Skydio tell me that during RTH, if the drone gets stuck using AO trying to return, it will simply hover in place until the pilot recovers it and it picks up the signal again, or the drone runs out of juice and then goes into an emergency landing. This would be rather awkward if the Skydio is hovering over my stream and I am playing beat the clock to try to find it before it commits suicide. Heck, even coming down for an uncontrolled landing anywhere on my property would very likely put the Skydio into the top of some pine tree and out of reach until the next big storm blows it loose.

So, hence my concern. Yes, I know, my property isn't really very favorable for drone flying. But the advertised smarts of this drone is what got me excited about the Skydio. Hoping that the obstacle avoidance would lessen the "white knuckle" experience every time I fly. This is something I am trying to find out beforehand about without having to do it experimentally and learn that wasn't a very wise method of finding the answer.

Oh did I mention I don't have my Skydio yet? I'm in batch #3, so I am SUPPOSED to be getting it by the end of this month. Theoretically. So if I find that I cannot fly this thing on my property without having a very good chance of losing it, I may have to pass, even after waiting all this time to get it.
 

skydioconvert

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Following your recent conversations on both this forum and the RCGroups forum it appears you're looking for the best of both worlds. Skydio's unmatched OA with early attempts at artificial intelligence OR a DJI product with LESS OA but more under your control.

The S2 has ultimate control OR you have ultimate control .... seems like a clear choice to make.

To be fair to both Skydio and you, you owe it to the others on this forum to provide verbatim copies of your conversations with Skydio regarding your concerns for everyone else to see.
 

Ridefreak

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I can tell you what I experienced with a loss of signal with the SD2. We were flying out in a very remote location in the canyon areas in utah. I launched and the drone was hovering nearby waiting for me to move. It decided to lock on someone else who was leaving on a motorcycle down the trail. I couldn't depart at that moment so I watched it fly off out of sight, I couldn't see it anymore, it went about 1.5 - 2 miles. I'm staring at the beacon which is saying it lost connection to the Skydio, I'm thinking WTF the drone is gone, it was all deep canyons, I would have never found it. Then the drone started rising and eventually the beacon regained signal and the drone flew back, all this by itself and resumed hoovering 20' away. The only reason I know this is I have the whole thing on video, it flew up pretty high to get the signal. To me standing there (freaking out) it just flew back about 10min later. It's not exactly the same thing you're asking but it's a loss of signal situation and I though I'd share what happened.

Ever since then the app is always running when the drone is flying so I have RTH at my fingertips and have the LKP stored in the phone.

This is a screen cap off the drone's video when it was returning.

utah.jpg
 
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skydioconvert

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Any idea about what caused the S2 to start rising?

Seems to be acting completely out of character....hope you plan on reporting it to Skydio.
 

Ridefreak

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I assumed it rose to re-acquire the signal, not sure if that's a feature or symptom but it worked nicely. As far as reporting it taking off following someone else, I've reported it and they're aware of it from others besides me. It's not a problem with my specific drone, it's an issue with their tracking that hasn't been fixed yet.
 

VEGASROBBI

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I've been flying in heavily wooded forests outside Vegas(too hot!). The "freaking out" factor has worn off and confidence building with over 100 flights.

I set my altitude low and watch my S2 weave and bob and fly over trees, sometimes over 100 feet.

When my S2 got "stuck" I would backtrack and manually fly it out. Now I give it time it usually rises up and looks around, true AI. It normally finds me, if not I use the beacon to increase altitude and I look for it to rise out of the forest.
 

Ridefreak

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This was another time it decided to just stop following, I realized it a 100 yards up the trail and the beacon brought it right back. I decided to use the shot at the end of the video :cool:

 
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skydioconvert

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I gotta say some of results you guys are getting border on the spooky...:giggle:

The AI already built into the S2 is going to take me sometime to get used to.

Really looking forward to experimenting when I get my mine.
 

skydioconvert

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I've been flying in heavily wooded forests outside Vegas(too hot!). The "freaking out" factor has worn off and confidence building with over 100 flights.

I set my altitude low and watch my S2 weave and bob and fly over trees, sometimes over 100 feet.

When my S2 got "stuck" I would backtrack and manually fly it out. Now I give it time it usually rises up and looks around, true AI. It normally finds me, if not I use the beacon to increase altitude and I look for it to rise out of the forest.
Some good tips...

P.S. Too bad it doesn't somehow warn you when it gets stuck...either on the beacon, remote or the phone.
 

Crracer712

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I can tell you what I experienced with a loss of signal with the SD2. We were flying out in a very remote location in the canyon areas in utah. I launched and the drone was hovering nearby waiting for me to move. It decided to lock on someone else who was leaving on a motorcycle down the trail. I couldn't depart at that moment so I watched it fly off out of sight, I couldn't see it anymore, it went about 1.5 - 2 miles. I'm staring at the beacon which is saying it lost connection to the Skydio, I'm thinking WTF the drone is gone, it was all deep canyons, I would have never found it. Then the drone started rising and eventually the beacon regained signal and the drone flew back, all this by itself and resumed hoovering 20' away. The only reason I know this is I have the whole thing on video, it flew up pretty high to get the signal. To me standing there (freaking out) it just flew back about 10min later. It's not exactly the same thing you're asking but it's a loss of signal situation and I though I'd share what happened.

Ever since then the app is always running when the drone is flying so I have RTH at my fingertips and have the LKP stored in the phone.

This is a screen cap off the drone's video when it was returning.

View attachment 145
Pretty cool story! Im imagining your relief at the sight of your investment returning😁
 

Rich Z

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Thanks for some first hand experiences. It is making me feel a bit better about this purchase.

Interesting to note that the AI seems smart enough to realize that if it can get more height, it will probably be able to reestablish the connection. I know when I have flown my other drones, if I just run it out just over the tree tops, I lose signal pretty quickly. But if I get it up to 400 ft, I can fly it much, much further out because the trees are not blocking the signal as much.

Just for the record, yes, I have been looking at the DJI Mavic Air 2 as well. But it is kind of comparing apples and oranges. But then again, I guess there is no reason why I can't have an apple AND an orange. :) The video seems to be quite nice from both of them.
 

Ridefreak

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Both do what they do pretty well, competition is a great thing.
 

Rich Z

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After doing some research, I'm not so hot on the Mavic Air 2 idea any longer. Seems that DJI's adding the 4K 60fps was pretty much an afterthought so that people doing comparisons could just put a checkmark in that box for specs. Come to find out that most of the features of this drone will not work with 4K 60fps and you must use no better than 30 fps, or even in some cases, drop down to 1080p. DJI always seems to come up with a reason for me to NOT buy their products. But they make it such that you really have to dig to find those reasons BEFORE you make your purchase. IMHO, anyway.

So I'll just wait it out until my number comes up for my Skydio, I guess. Now looking like it might not be until October.
 

skydioconvert

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Hopefully October is a worst case scenario and all of us in Batch 3 will get ours before then.

P.S. Your above update was very interesting... you don't read negative reports about DJI drones very often.
 

Crracer712

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I'm wondering if they're doing something new with recent production. I mean if there's still batch 3 waiting, seems odd they'd tell me, batch 5, that they estimate October as being when it might ship.

Then again, I don't believe they actually said what year🙂
 

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