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Skydio 2 advanced autonomous flight and regulation of visual requirements

dougcjohn

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Just a discussion subject...
We’ve all discussed the Skydio2 and it‘s amazing 360 optical avoidance capability. How the advertisements show autonomous flight able to be above & around you, keeping you or subject in frame. They’ve indicated / suggested you can put it into a sophisticated tracking mode... indicating tracking yourself. Through & under tree lines, back side of structures, etc.

So how’s all that sophisticated intelligence, object avoidance, and awesome AI flight matrixes fit in with the simple rule to maintain visual contact. We’ve even discussed the use of screen hoods or googles in past indicating without a VO, those methods don’t meet regs. It’s pretty apparent many will be self creating videos, entailing several minutes at a time not aware of where the Skydio2 is positioned. Ya can’t ride down a fast rocky & tree trail or maneuver rapids while watching the sky... let alone be holding a radio or stick-fob. The use of VO’s isn’t practical... especially if a long trail or river (using previous examples).

Realizing this won’t detour any self-creating intentions... just curious of opinions.
 
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DoomMeister

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I agree with your VLOS point. This is going to be a major stickler in a lot of cases. Especially in populated areas such as parks or on lakes where users will be using the tracking to video biking, skateboarding, skiing, and other action sports.

My personal take on this is that in areas where there are non-participants the use of a pilot with VLOS is a must. In remote areas where the chances of interaction with non-participants is also remote it is not so much an issue and common sense should prevail. If one considers the evolution of the multi rotor rules and regulations, most of our present day troubles stems from users not using common sense.

If the technology Skydio is using develops into a more widely adopted platform for safety, we may see some relaxing of the VLOS rules. At least when used in less populated scenarios. Along with this, I could see the use of geofencing to keep the aircraft within a specified distance when using active tracking with OA.
 

CheapDroneWork

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Could you possibly get a waiver for no VLOS in areas which are not inhabited? Just a thought.
 

DoomMeister

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Maybe in the future at altitudes just above tree top level of Optical OA proves reliable. The biggest reason for VLOS is avoidance of manned aircraft, so until we have something like ADS-B incorporated to know where other aircraft are and they know where you are, we will be stuck with the VLOS requirement even in sparsely populated areas.
 

VEGASROBBI

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So how’s all that sophisticated intelligence, object avoidance, and awesome AI flight matrixes fit in with the simple rule to maintain visual contact.
I subscribe to the theory brought over from full size, the Pilot In Command is responsible for the flight path. Regardless of superior obstacle avoidence the pilot should always monitor the drone.

What might work for launch and forgot guys is a track module like Halo or 3DR on the subject with remote control from a ground station.
 

dougcjohn

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I subscribe to the theory brought over from full size, the Pilot In Command is responsible for the flight path. Regardless of superior obstacle avoidence the pilot should always monitor the drone.

What might work for launch and forgot guys is a track module like Halo or 3DR on the subject with remote control from a ground station.
Concure with thought path, althogh the current S2 design is primarily designed with no Radio control in the hand, let alone it's AI and optical avoidance that will route it's "own" flight path around, under or through obstacles... with no pilot interaction.

I'm extremly fascinated with the technology, and anxious to where it's going in new designs both Skydio and competition... but it currently, in my opinion and interpretation, blows the VLOS and in PIC control right out of the Reg Manual for the way it's advertised and intended usage. Very Cool indeed, but not within the current Regs... so I'm secondarily impressed how this "Design" hasn't been challenged.

As @DoomMeister suggested, may mandate or motivate modifications to FAA Regs.... as this stimulates competition and additional technology something will need to be addressed. Because soon you'll have those finding ways to maximize the technology which will inversely minimize the following of existing Regs.

:ROFLMAO:On a morbid humorous side... if Skydio2 is in the mode to "track" you, and your "sport" to show off to YouTube world is jumping between tall rooftops... and you miss... does it follow you down to "splat zero"? Or Auto Roof surfing down street, and for some reason take a dive... it'll stay with ya on track while you roll to a bloody mess.

They sound off-color, but I'll betcha this will not be so far off as folks find new ways to exploit this awesome technology.
 

VEGASROBBI

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I mostly fly my Typhoon H with the Wizard Wand in Follow. When driving fast I can make small corrections to the flight path with the bump of a button, I assume this is how the Skydio Beacon will work. Both the Beacon and Wizard Wand have GPS built in so it must remain on the subject for proper tracking.

We all know there is one born every minute, the guy who will put the Beacon in his pocket and take off with no attention paid to the drone. While the S2 has the best chance of surviving and getting the shot the Pilot is no longer in command, the drone is. Maybe Skydio will develop into Skynet:oops:

We have to see how this pans out but with capabilities like this I see more regulations coming to deal with it.

Good news is first responders, S&R... have a more powerful tool when used properly.
 

dougcjohn

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I mostly fly my Typhoon H with the Wizard Wand in Follow. When driving fast I can make small corrections to the flight path with the bump of a button, I assume this is how the Skydio Beacon will work. Both the Beacon and Wizard Wand have GPS built in so it must remain on the subject for proper tracking.

We all know there is one born every minute, the guy who will put the Beacon in his pocket and take off with no attention paid to the drone. While the S2 has the best chance of surviving and getting the shot the Pilot is no longer in command, the drone is. Maybe Skydio will develop into Skynet:oops:

We have to see how this pans out but with capabilities like this I see more regulations coming to deal with it.

Good news is first responders, S&R... have a more powerful tool when used properly.
Wow... I think you're the first I've chatted with that uses the wizard wand... mine is in the case and like most never turned on.

Interesting, I heard & read nothing positive of the wizard wand... but you've intrigued me now. I have a PowerVision Egg with it's hand control. Little larger unit, similar operation. The Egg was just a "Fun, Conversation piece" and not a particularly stable flyer in comparison.

I knew the Beacon had GPS, althogh previous comments indicated the S2 didn't require GPS to navigate around obstacles and flight. It'll be a fascinating craft to examine.

And Yes... Skydio was a subdivision of Skynet in the movie. ;) We're just beginning... we'd better get busy on the Time Portal too!!
 
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DoomMeister

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I’ve used the wand to have my TH Pro follow me in the golf cart. It beats bouncing the ST-16 all over the place and easier to hold while you drive. It is cool to see the TH fly in front of you and dodge obstacles while in RealSense is active.
 

VEGASROBBI

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Here's the WW in use, having a baro means elevation changes with the subject.


Old video I did on the WW sorry for the poor quality.

 

dougcjohn

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I’ve used the wand to have my TH Pro follow me in the golf cart. It beats bouncing the ST-16 all over the place and easier to hold while you drive. It is cool to see the TH fly in front of you and dodge obstacles while in RealSense is active.
Dang, the WW crowd is appearing

So it one or the other, you take of with ST16.... can’t assume control with WW.
 

dougcjohn

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Here's the WW in use, having a baro means elevation changes with the subject.


Old video I did on the WW sorry for the poor quality.

Enjoyed, Thanks... the 2nd one was helpful!
Still intrigued that some are using the WW.
 

dougcjohn

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Dang, the WW crowd is appearing

So it one or the other, you take of with ST16.... can’t assume control with WW.
Boy, just relooked at that one... my phone's auto correct really hammered that one.
What I meant to say....

Regarding the WW vs ST16.
Is it one or the other, if you take off using the ST16, can you begin using the WW once in flight and assume control?
In other words, do both work simultaneously?
Take off at picnic bench with ST16, grab the WW and place the ST16 down on table... go for walk or golf cart ride with WW, then return to picnic bench, grab ST16 and fly or land?
 

VEGASROBBI

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Unfortunately flight controls are either the WW or the ST16 they cannot be used simultaneously or switched in flight. You must land then switch to and from team mode to transfer control.

BUT the camera controls stay with the ST16 for dual ops, so you can fly with the WW while a camera operator controls the gimbal, camera modes, etc.. The ST16 can even switch fight modes like Watch Me vs Follow Me but no flight control.

This is what I was referring to earlier, if Mr. Surfer or Trail rider carries a tracking device a second operator can act as PIC(pilot in command). Halo is the best example of this, the tracking puck is small and waterproof and contains not only GPS but a barometer for dynamic altitude. This way the surfer only has to surf or the rider ride and the remote Pilot can fly.
 

Ridefreak

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I can't speak for the other activities but when you're trail riding the drone has to be almost fully autonomous, you can't ride and fly at the same time. Periodic position corrections using a beacon or gps controller is possible but not much else. You have to fly in remote areas.

 

VEGASROBBI

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RF great video to show off the Follow mode. Therein lies to problem what constitutes safe autonomous flight. In this situation out in the open country is very different then say a skateboarder in a park. I think around non participants a pilot would have to be in command.

I was surprised too see gimbal shake at about 12:00, was this a consistent problem or maybe loose dampeners?
 

Ridefreak

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I agree, you can only get away with that in remote areas.
 

dougcjohn

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With the S2 and it's advertised "uncrashable" performance... it won't be flown autonomously only in open zones... it'll be flown anywhere.
Owners are required to apply thought... are they?
 

Ridefreak

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I was surprised too see gimbal shake at about 12:00, was this a consistent problem or maybe loose dampeners?
That's something that cropped up after landing and chasing the battery that day, I suspect it's interference in the gimbal's positioning circuit. I just installed a new arm on it the night before and had it apart. I'm going to pull it apart again and see if I pinched anything. I'll probably reload the software to to eliminate anything weird in that regard also. It's hard to get a Staaker fixed since they're in Norway but aside from not having avoidance it's a great drone, tracks extremely well and the SD2 could never hope to keep up with it in the open, it's tracked me up to 47mph. There will always be a place in my filming for that capability.

I've only had it loose track a couple times in many flights over the last year. Unfortunately I've crashed it a few time pretty hard.
 

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