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Uncommanded/very delayed takeoff with DroneDeploy


Apr 7, 2022
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So I just took delivery of the controller and started doing some tests with DD. My first few, using my iPhone (relatively new, good spec), went pretty well though in general I don't love some of the takeoff and landing behavior. In particular when I switched to trying things out with an iPad (fair bit older but still compatible) the app was a lot pokier to interact with--given how similar it is to the web app I have a feeling they just wrapped that which never gives great performance. But more concerningly I experienced what I think is fair to call an "uncommanded takeoff" at one point. After checking DD support I found an article with this:

Taking Off with the Skydio 2​

The Skydio 2 performs multiple systems and safety checks before taking off. Because of this, you will often notice a delay between pressing take-off and the drone actually taking off. It is not uncommon for the delay to be upwards of 60 seconds. Please remain patient and wait for it to get past this. If an error does prevent take-off from happening, a message will appear at the bottom of the DroneDeploy application.

A Note On Error Messages
If you see any kind of error message during or upon takeoff, such as "plan upload failed: required skill not present: testing.main.Mapper" accompanied with hovering, completely closing the DroneDeploy app and restarting will generally fix this issue. If it still occurs please reach out to [email protected]

I did see that error message a few times and did various combinations of force-restarting the DD app, rebooting the drone, etc.

But "60 seconds" and "please remain patient" are at best pretty bad user experience and at worst downright dangerous, given that that part of a support article I had to search for really ought to be a pretty conspicuous message displayed to the pilot. They also don't mention how to cancel a takeoff during this period of time.

Anyway this really is more of a bug report for DD and Skydio and I'll do that but I thought I'd post it here for visibility, and also I'm curious if anyone else has seen this behavior.

As I said I only experienced it when using the lower spec iPad and not the iPhone so that might be related, though after I saw it once I didn't want to press my luck trying the iPad again. I did do a couple more flights with the iPhone without issue.

The one other thing of note is that, on both devices, I was screen recording which I do as part of my standard workflow -- I don't like the completely user-inaccessible logs on the Skydio and want to be able to go back and see what happened if something goes wrong, especially if I can't retrieve the drone or the SD card ends up being borked. So maybe in the case of the iPad the extra load on the system was an issue. The other difference is that the iPad has no cell connection so I was tethered to my phone.

I'm going to do another test today but with no screen recording or tethering on the iPad, we'll see how it goes.

Edit: Forgot to mention, I also saw a lot of latency in the video feed while using the iPad, on the order of 10 seconds or more. Easy to miss that it's happening since you are generally looking at a static scene prior to takeoff. Pretty concerning when there's commanding happening via the app.
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An update: I flew today using the iPad and didn't see any of the issues, at least not yet, with recording and tethering turned off. I also force-killed all other apps. So, it may have been one of those things.

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