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What return settings are you guys using

dmac1

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Below is what I have been using. If it loses me, there could be 200-300' bluffs between me and S2 (if its waaay back there) or maybe just 100' trees...or nothing much. I am assuming it will try to work around a real high obstacle if my height limit isn't enough? I don't want it to waste battery going 300' in the air if it doesn't need to, so I have return height much lower.

The odd numbers are cuz of PITA to get the slider exactly where I want it.

Height Limits
Height floor - enabled (I don't want it crashing into other people)
Height ceiling - 271'

Return Behavior
Return height - 51' (the hope is this is high enough to avoid most things between me and S2)
Height behavior - Relative (with highly variable terrain where I fly, I could easily be higher than launch point...if absolute, it seems like it would try to descend??)
Drone looks - toward return (I hope to eventually see myself on the app and/or be able to pilot it to me)
Return speed - 22 mph (max) (why would we use less than max? I want it back ASAP)

Lost Connection
Wait before return - 120sec (my thoughts are to give me a decent amount of time to find it)
Land once returned - on (what the freak else would it do. I don't want it to hover till it crashes cuz battery dead) (I don't fly over water)
Wait before land - 300 sec (max) again, to give me max time to get under it to catch it

Thanks for any thoughts.
 

kenmavic2zoom

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Below is what I have been using. If it loses me, there could be 200-300' bluffs between me and S2 (if its waaay back there) or maybe just 100' trees...or nothing much. I am assuming it will try to work around a real high obstacle if my height limit isn't enough? I don't want it to waste battery going 300' in the air if it doesn't need to, so I have return height much lower.

The odd numbers are cuz of PITA to get the slider exactly where I want it.

Height Limits
Height floor - enabled (I don't want it crashing into other people)
Height ceiling - 271'

Return Behavior
Return height - 51' (the hope is this is high enough to avoid most things between me and S2)
Height behavior - Relative (with highly variable terrain where I fly, I could easily be higher than launch point...if absolute, it seems like it would try to descend??)
Drone looks - toward return (I hope to eventually see myself on the app and/or be able to pilot it to me)
Return speed - 22 mph (max) (why would we use less than max? I want it back ASAP)

Lost Connection
Wait before return - 120sec (my thoughts are to give me a decent amount of time to find it)
Land once returned - on (what the freak else would it do. I don't want it to hover till it crashes cuz battery dead) (I don't fly over water)
Wait before land - 300 sec (max) again, to give me max time to get under it to catch it

Thanks for any thoughts.
my thoughts:

some people use return to home to bring their drone home instead of flying it home themselves. therefore the trip home is a recreational fun trip and the resulting video could be a reverse of what they flew out; thus the drone facing the other way. return to home is a smooth flight so it makes for good footage if you are pulling out and away from a building instead of piloting yourself. nice slow sleep is optional as well.

also if the drone is following you and you forget to move your home point and the drone returns home, it's probably better if the drone is looking at you as it speeds away....maybe. might be a good idea for the drone to be going something less than 22mph as it speeds away, maybe you can catch up to it.

i realize the drone has good oa but i will never trust it completely to avoid an obstacle on the way home due to a lost connection. whenever possible i will always set the return home altitude on lost connection to something above the highest known point, likely 400 feet, even higher if necessary. im never going to have a self-inflicted error over something i have full control over; makes no sense. battery life is free and doesn't cost you anything.

if your drone is following you and it loses connection, you may want to have it wait awhile for you to realize it and then come back for it...instead of turning around flying off immediately. in the end, i believe the drone will properly land no matter the battery i.e. it won't hover and when the battery runs out simply drop to the ground. iirc emergency landing regardless of the settings. my guess is auto land on return means you won't be near the drone. good battery and long battery means there's no excuse not to set these to maximum/manual unless you are in some sort of hurry.
 
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Saladshooter

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Height Limits
Height floor - enabled (I don't want it crashing into other people)
Height ceiling - 271'
I think your Height Ceiling is too low. 400' is the legal limit from ground in the US, but I would still set it to 500+ to compensate for increasing elevation which would place your Skydio at a lower height.

Return Behavior
Return height - 51' (the hope is this is high enough to avoid most things between me and S2)
Height behavior - Relative (with highly variable terrain where I fly, I could easily be higher than launch point...if absolute, it seems like it would try to descend??)
I usually have my Return height set to 30ft and Relative. All this means is that the Skydio will rise 30ft above the height it was at when it lost transmission or RTH was pressed. I often fly above the treetops so nothing should be in the way up there.

If I am flying just above ground level there is usually nothing between me and the Skydio so I will adjust the Relative return height down to zero so it won't rise up into a canopy of trees or overhead wires.

I also rarely let the RTH function fly the S2 all the way home. As soon as I can regain control or see the drone overhead, I will take over. I hand launch and catch the S2 almost 100% of the time. The ground isn't often level enough for safe takeoff and landing because of the S2's downward facing props and its aversion to even lifting off from a tight space. The only exception is in heavy wind where nervous about injuring my fingers on a botched catch.
 

kenmavic2zoom

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I think your Height Ceiling is too low. 400' is the legal limit from ground in the US, but I would still set it to 500+ to compensate for increasing elevation which would place your Skydio at a lower height.


I usually have my Return height set to 30ft and Relative. All this means is that the Skydio will rise 30ft above the height it was at when it lost transmission or RTH was pressed. I often fly above the treetops so nothing should be in the way up there.

If I am flying just above ground level there is usually nothing between me and the Skydio so I will adjust the Relative return height down to zero so it won't rise up into a canopy of trees or overhead wires.

I also rarely let the RTH function fly the S2 all the way home. As soon as I can regain control or see the drone overhead, I will take over. I hand launch and catch the S2 almost 100% of the time. The ground isn't often level enough for safe takeoff and landing because of the S2's downward facing props and its aversion to even lifting off from a tight space. The only exception is in heavy wind where nervous about injuring my fingers on a botched catch.
you should try case landing, it's pretty awesome. that being said, i try to hand launch as often as i can but i almost never hand catch (as you said...fingers).

so correct me if i am wrong, the skydio will never rise up and into the canopy of trees above or overheard wires....that's for other insensitive drones with lousy/no oa. with skydio, that's a thing of the past. the skydio would never do that regardless of settings, correct? if the drone is on rth and there is nowhere the go overhead, the drone will find it way out, no? i probably should test this.
 

dmac1

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my thoughts:

some people use return to home to bring their drone home instead of flying it home themselves. therefore the trip home is a recreational fun trip and the resulting video could be a reverse of what they flew out; thus the drone facing the other way. return to home is a smooth flight so it makes for good footage if you are pulling out and away from a building instead of piloting yourself. nice slow sleep is optional as well.

also if the drone is following you and you forget to move your home point and the drone returns home, it's probably better if the drone is looking at you as it speeds away....maybe. might be a good idea for the drone to be going something less than 22mph as it speeds away, maybe you can catch up to it.

i realize the drone has good oa but i will never trust it completely to avoid an obstacle on the way home due to a lost connection. whenever possible i will always set the return home altitude on lost connection to something above the highest known point, likely 400 feet, even higher if necessary. im never going to have a self-inflicted error over something i have full control over; makes no sense. battery life is free and doesn't cost you anything.

if your drone is following you and it loses connection, you may want to have it wait awhile for you to realize it and then come back for it...instead of turning around flying off immediately. in the end, i believe the drone will properly land no matter the battery i.e. it won't hover and when the battery runs out simply drop to the ground. iirc emergency landing regardless of the settings. my guess is auto land on return means you won't be near the drone. good battery and long battery means there's no excuse not to set these to maximum/manual unless you are in some sort of hurry.
Thanks Ken!

First, good thoughs in your first paragraph for those who do that. I never even thought of it...

Second, since there is no setting for it in 'return behaviors' I neglected to address the home point issue.

I never set a home point and am almost always in 'follow me' mode, thus (from Skydio's info):

(a) If you did not set a Home Point and are tracking a subject, Skydio will continue to track for 20 seconds. After that time, Skydio will wait the specified Wait Before Return time (minus 20 seconds) before returning to the last location it was actively tracking a subject while connected.

This is really a good behavior IMO cuz it actually won't go far off your track. And most of the settings I asked about will be a moot point in this scenario. I actually had this happen once, but I had no idea where the drone was...until it nearly landed on me with a dying battery as I rode underneath it. I didn't even know that happened until I looked at the footage later. LOL

(b) If you do not have a Home Point set (and are not tracking a subject) and you lose connection, Skydio 2/2+ will go to the last location that a subject was tracked since launch. If there was no subject tracked in this flight, Skydio will return to the Launch Point.

So, in this scenario, the settings I asked about will likely come into play.

Your thoughts about what it will likely do if battery dying make sense...I now think I oughta turn off 'land once returned' on the premise that it'll hover there as long as possible and that'll give me max possible time to get there.

I dunno what to do about return altitude.

If its following me and I go through some trees and it gets stuck and I ride away while its finding a way through, I am not sure I'd want it to, after trying to catch up for 20 seconds, fly up hundreds of feet, move back those 20 seconds of flight, and lower back down. Possibly the best return height is where its at, but no way to set that.

If its gonna hafta return to launch point cuz lost comms and wasn't following someone, then, theoretically, its always gonna be within my sight, so all I need it to be is higher than anything between me and where its going.

So, in the instance where its not tracking a subject, I guess this should be set at inception of each flight.
 

dmac1

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you should try case landing, it's pretty awesome. that being said, i try to hand launch as often as i can but i almost never hand catch (as you said...fingers).

so correct me if i am wrong, the skydio will never rise up and into the canopy of trees above or overheard wires....that's for other insensitive drones with lousy/no oa. with skydio, that's a thing of the past. the skydio would never do that regardless of settings, correct? if the drone is on rth and there is nowhere the go overhead, the drone will find it way out, no? i probably should test this.
I think it will likely fly into wires and thin sticks and similar.

I saw a vid a year or so ago of someone who was flying their S2 though a suspension bridge and it hit a cable that it didn't see in time.

If the trees are leafed out, prolly true it wouldn't rise up into it...prolly true too if lotsa thick branches.

Mine flew into some tall pine trees and got stuck...this has happened numerous times. I usually watch closely and will stop the 'follow' if it gets stuck. It can't fly up in that situation though...it'd be a problem for sure if you rode off.

I have never done a case landing...I just turn S2 away from me and catch it from the back. No finger nicks yet. Tis kinda sketchy in strongish winds tho.
 

Ridefreak

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Give yourself the max time before it RTH and also before it lands. There's situations where you are working to get re-connected and gain control. If you're on your MC the drone may be a ways behind you, first you need to find it, then you need to reestablish comms. Off the MC or any vehicle it's very unlikely you're near the takeoff point. If it suddenly flies home in the middle of that process you're screwed. I always hand catch the drone, the only time that's ever been an issue is when it starts coming down before I'm ready. The only time I want it landing on its own is when the battery is so depleted it's about to run out. Unplanned landings are never good when there's no OA.
 
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dmac1

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Off the MC or any vehicle it's very unlikely you're near the takeoff point. If it suddenly flies home in the middle of that process you're screwed.

Screwed for sure if you've went any distance and it decided to go back to launch point which you set as home. If you are well over 1/2 a battery away from launch point, you're nearly guaranteed a landing somewhere besides your hand cuz it won't make it back unless it can take enough shortcuts. And then ya gotta beat it there which might be unlikely cuz you'll likely be looking for it and not riding max pace.

Heres what Skydio says (not that you need it, but it might help someone else)

If Home Point is set:

If you set a Home Point on the map within the Skydio app and are tracking a subject, Skydio will continue to follow the subject for 20 seconds, or until the drone needs to return home due to a low battery (whichever occurs first). After tracking has stopped, Skydio will wait the specified Wait Before Return time (minus 20 seconds) before returning to the Home Point.

Unplanned landings are never good when there's no OA.
Whats OA?
 

kenmavic2zoom

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what's oa ("The only time I want it landing on its own is when the battery is so depleted it's about to run out. Unplanned landings are never good when there's no OA.")...meaning when the battery is absolutely depleted, the drone will land for sure and it will not avoid anything on the way down even if that means landing on top of a tree or a car or the rooftop. no type of obstacle avoidance will help at the very very end.
 

dmac1

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Aha...obstacle avoidance....just came to me...

When mine has landed (2x) due to dying batteries it actually did a pretty good job of selecting half decent spots. Maybe I just got lucky and I thought it done good. :)
 

Sky Cyclist

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Below is what I have been using. If it loses me, there could be 200-300' bluffs between me and S2 (if its waaay back there) or maybe just 100' trees...or nothing much. I am assuming it will try to work around a real high obstacle if my height limit isn't enough? I don't want it to waste battery going 300' in the air if it doesn't need to, so I have return height much lower.

The odd numbers are cuz of PITA to get the slider exactly where I want it.

Height Limits
Height floor - enabled (I don't want it crashing into other people)
Height ceiling - 271'

Return Behavior
Return height - 51' (the hope is this is high enough to avoid most things between me and S2)
Height behavior - Relative (with highly variable terrain where I fly, I could easily be higher than launch point...if absolute, it seems like it would try to descend??)
Drone looks - toward return (I hope to eventually see myself on the app and/or be able to pilot it to me)
Return speed - 22 mph (max) (why would we use less than max? I want it back ASAP)

Lost Connection
Wait before return - 120sec (my thoughts are to give me a decent amount of time to find it)
Land once returned - on (what the freak else would it do. I don't want it to hover till it crashes cuz battery dead) (I don't fly over water)
Wait before land - 300 sec (max) again, to give me max time to get under it to catch it

Thanks for any thoughts.

My RTH settings may differ from yours becauase I never use RTH to bring the drone back to me. The RTH function will only be triggered when the connection is lost.

RTH when lost connection means the pilot has no control of his/her drone at all.

A drone out-of-control is dangerous and I really dislike this kind of situation.

But, the lost connection situation still happens constantly, so my settings are

1. Return height: 200ft ~ 400ft (mostly 400ft) << It depends on the location of the flight.

2. Speed: 10 mph; Setting it to max speed might only save just a few seconds. It does not make sense to me. When it does RTH after lost connection, safety is the first consideration but not that fews seconds.

3. Wait before return: 30 seconds is long enough << Most of time, the connection will regain under 10 seconds. The other reason I will set it up to 30 sec is because of the battery time. Longer waiting means shorter battery time for return and more risk.

4. Wait before land: 300 sec << I do manual landing always. I don't trust the auto-landing of a drone that always loses connection so easily...

5. Toward return << When the connection is regained, I will know to which direction the drone is flying immediately on the flight app screen.

I just share what my settings are and reasons for reference.

I will also suggest to adjust the RTH setting every time before flying in a different location and there is no best setting or one-for-all RTH settings.
 

dmac1

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My RTH settings may differ from yours becauase I never use RTH to bring the drone back to me. The RTH function will only be triggered when the connection is lost.

RTH when lost connection means the pilot has no control of his/her drone at all.

A drone out-of-control is dangerous and I really dislike this kind of situation.

But, the lost connection situation still happens constantly, so my settings are

1. Return height: 200ft ~ 400ft (mostly 400ft) << It depends on the location of the flight.

2. Speed: 10 mph; Setting it to max speed might only save just a few seconds. It does not make sense to me. When it does RTH after lost connection, safety is the first consideration but not that fews seconds.

3. Wait before return: 30 seconds is long enough << Most of time, the connection will regain under 10 seconds. The other reason I will set it up to 30 sec is because of the battery time. Longer waiting means shorter battery time for return and more risk.

4. Wait before land: 300 sec << I do manual landing always. I don't trust the auto-landing of a drone that always loses connection so easily...

5. Toward return << When the connection is regained, I will know to which direction the drone is flying immediately on the flight app screen.

I just share what my settings are and reasons for reference.

I will also suggest to adjust the RTH setting every time before flying in a different location and there is no best setting or one-for-all RTH settings.

Thanks. Yeah, I too never intentionally use RTH. Its good to get everyone's thoughts tho cuz yeah, one size doesn't fit all.

I don't set home point and drone is most often following me...other than a few flyoff incidents.

I thought I wanted max wait before it goes RTH but my flyoff incident showed that it can be out of sight in just a few seconds, so I think I'm going to shorten this up so its back quickly to where it lost comms.

The most likely time my RTH settings will come into play are when its following me and loses me. I have seen stunt type prop airplanes fly reaaal low at one of the places we ride pretty regularly. And some fly pretty low out here where I live and I for sure don't want my drone going way up in the sky, uncontrolled, before a return to home flight. 50' (or your 30') seems about right.

I like your idea of less than max speed for a return! I think I'm going to change mine...likely any RTH flight for mine is only the last ~20 seconds of its tracking flight, so its not going far....and prolly its obstacle avoidance will be better at slower speeds.

I want max time before a RTH land, and I'm still not sure which settings get us that. Seems to me that Ken was on the right track. IE - it seems that if Land Once Returned is turned off, it will hover as long as it has battery to do so vs, if you have it on, and set to 300 sec, it will hover only for 300 sec, even if the battery would give ya a much longer hover. Has anyone confirmed how this works with Skydio?
 

dmac1

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Has anyone confirmed how this works with Skydio?
I asked em via chat and unfortunately the guy gave me some errant info, but ultimately, he agreed with me that to get longest hover after RTH, don't set Land Once Returned.

An example, the max you can set for Wait Before Land is 300 seconds (5 min) but what if you have 10 min of battery left? I want it to hover for as much of the 10 min as possible, thus, my new setting will be Land Once Returned - off.

If anyone else has confirmed this with them, it would be good to know cuz like I said, the guy who I chatted with seemed to not really know.

I guess I could set a Home Point and fly it a little ways away and turn off my phone to see what it will do...ie - if, with a new battery, it'll hover for longer than 240 seconds (the default on Wait Before Land). First key will be if it will return to proper point. Still too windy here though....Someone else try it! LOL
 

ETdronehome

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Drone looks - toward return (I hope to eventually see myself on the app and/or be able to pilot it to me)
For the original S2 the default for RTH behavior was/is for the drone to fly "backwards" - camera looking away.

When I first saw that I found it very puzzling as to Skydio's logic as it seemed to me that it would be better to have the camera looking in the direction of travel so the "autonomous" OA could use that camera along with the 6 others AND for the pilot to see where it was headed if/when it regained signal.

The "theory" is/was the placement of the drone's antennae is at the rear of the airframe which would optimize the signal strength to and from the pilots position.

I'm not sure what if any effect the "backwards" orientation has on signal strength unless the pilot is having the S2 operate near the limits of it's range anyway. Personally I prefer the facing return as it makes determining flight path way easier when you can see where it's headed.
 

kenmavic2zoom

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I asked em via chat and unfortunately the guy gave me some errant info, but ultimately, he agreed with me that to get longest hover after RTH, don't set Land Once Returned.

An example, the max you can set for Wait Before Land is 300 seconds (5 min) but what if you have 10 min of battery left? I want it to hover for as much of the 10 min as possible, thus, my new setting will be Land Once Returned - off.

If anyone else has confirmed this with them, it would be good to know cuz like I said, the guy who I chatted with seemed to not really know.

I guess I could set a Home Point and fly it a little ways away and turn off my phone to see what it will do...ie - if, with a new battery, it'll hover for longer than 240 seconds (the default on Wait Before Land). First key will be if it will return to proper point. Still too windy here though....Someone else try it! LOL
way way too windy here, too
 

vincent228

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I actually was looking for this question, but Im still a little sketchy on the
Return Behavior - Height behavior. what setting should i use if I am higher than the drone? I do not want it trying to climb to reach me. I would rather have it start as high as I am, or higher, so it avoides anything that could be higher than it.
So which setting would i use there?

Sorry for the confusion.
 

kenmavic2zoom

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I actually was looking for this question, but Im still a little sketchy on the
Return Behavior - Height behavior. what setting should i use if I am higher than the drone? I do not want it trying to climb to reach me. I would rather have it start as high as I am, or higher, so it avoides anything that could be higher than it.
So which setting would i use there?

Sorry for the confusion.
i havent done a rth on the skydio in awhile so im not 100% but ill take a stab at this. the way it work is the drone will first rise to a certain altitude straight up, then it makes it way to the homepoint, then it lands straight down. upon rth, the drone should never hit anything going up. in the event there is something above then i do not believe the sensors will let the drone crash into something above it.

so the goal is to raise the drone to a level higher than the tallest obstacle, come home, and land straight down. in the event it is unsafe to land or something is below, i believe the sensors will not allow it to crash on top of something. if you are higher than the drone when rth is triggered, you should have a return height set to something like 500 or 600 so the drone will rise up and above and higher over anything between you and the drone. instead of finding it way back to you immediately, the drone will first rise to the pre-set height and then come home. i agree the drone should not have to "climb" in order to reach you.

im not sure about the usefulness of relative height behavior. the only use case i can think of is you often fly in controlled airspace and as long as you fly "50 feet" below the authorized ceiling, you can ensure you drone will rise (which puts you higher than obstacles if you traditionally fly just above obstacle-level) and keeps you from exceeding AGL authorization. it happened to me once, lost connection, drone rose to 400 feet (while i'm in 200 feet zone)....it's a "strange" feeling.
 
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ETdronehome

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I actually was looking for this question, but Im still a little sketchy on the
Return Behavior - Height behavior. what setting should i use if I am higher than the drone? I do not want it trying to climb to reach me. I would rather have it start as high as I am, or higher, so it avoides anything that could be higher than it.
So which setting would i use there?

Sorry for the confusion.
The Skydio approach to having the aircraft return autonomously is complicated in that it has a LOT of variables. Nice to have options but challenging to figure them all out and recall what happens when you change a setting and/or you lose connection.

I took an approach where I went to a big flat open area and experimented with what happens in a “commanded“ RTH to a launch point, a home point, an altered in flight home point and the controller, using relative and absolute height variables.

Of course you then throw in what happens when it’s actively tracking along with its OA that could affect it‘s return course and elevation and my head starts to hurt :unsure::)

I don’t fly in an area that has any significant elevation changes so can’t comment on your specific situation.
 

Ridefreak

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I'm pretty sure the drone will attempt avoid any obstacles in it's way during a RTH, from what I understand landing is the only time OA is disabled, my flight experiences seem to confirm that. It could get stuck in some trees trying to get back but that situation isn't unique to RTH. I'm pretty sure the RTH settings are to allow a pilot to navigate through a forest or something equally as demanding and have a RTH setting where the drone could be set to rise up over the canopy and RTH via an direct unobstructed path. Without being told to return by flying over the obstacles there's a good chance it'd never make it back as it was trying to navigate itself at a constant altitude that was in among the trees. I don't think it was ever designed as a set and forget parameter. Depending on how you're using the drone you're RTM would be geared to accommodate the situation.
 

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