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Webinar | UgCS features explained: #1 Route Continuation

UgCS: Flight Planning & Control
April 8, 2020

Discover a new webinar explaining Route Continuation functionality in UgCS.

The webinar-recording presents:

  • Using Route Continuation functionality in UgCS for missions covering large areas
  • Manage routes exceeding the autopilot's waypoint limit.
  • Recommendations for a few practical cases.
  • Q&A

Answers provided by UgCS Support team to questions asked during the webinar.

  • Q: Can be the commercial transits flying seen during the flight of a route, what does the Mavic enterprise see?
    A: If you use ADS-B on your’ drone, the other commercial flight can be seen on the radar as well as those drones that also have ADS-B

  • Q: What is the accuracy of the terrestrial model in the z axis? The accuracy of the ground height from the ugcs model that we use for planning the flight.
    A: It depends on how much GDP you use and if your drone has PPK or RTK for example, usually, is very hard to reach better accuracy than 3 times your pixel resolution. But of course, it depends on GDP quantities. It uses SRTM, it has 5 to 10 meters error

  • Q: Dose the drone maintains its height with previous DTM or through average heights of satellite images?
    A: The drone has no DTM information. The drone is navigating based on its sensors data. Each drone manufacturer should specify drone accuracy. Drones reported elevation may start float during the flight. Floating can be caused by different obstacles – weather conditions, sensors temperature changes, GPS accuracy. The pilot must keep in mind possible errors in altitude reported by drone sensors.

  • Q: How do I see which part of the mission has been accomplished?
    A: The accomplished part is painted in thick green color

  • Q: How do you use the Take-off point altitude above ground? In what kind of circumstances is usually used?
    A: If drone take-off is not performed from the ground – building rooftop, any obstacle that is used to place drone higher than ground level. It is also required if elevation in are is changed and is different from elevation data in UgCS, which can be after construction works, mining activities or any other activities that increase or decreases actual elevation.

  • Q: Is there a way to keep track of the last waypoint. In cases where the signal to the drone is lost and then reconnected and we set the drone to continue on the loss of signal to remote, sometimes, the program does not remember the last waypoint. But, if we check the log, it is offset from the uploaded mission. Is there a way to check the absolute number of the last waypoint?
    A: There was a known issue with route continuation in cases when a connection between drone and UgCS was lost. The issue was fixed and now if the connection between drone and UgCS is reestablished, the location of the drone is updated.

  • Q: How does route continuation work with the UgCS app on Andriod or iOS?
    A: They work the same way. You interrupt the mission, then upload it back to drone and choose to continue or specify waypoint. Route continuation functionality is handled in UgCS desktop software, mobile software must handle the only connection between the drone and UgCS desktop software.

  • Q: Can it automatically resume, after a return because of a low battery. When changing the battery it will continue the road from the last RTH point. If I return it manually it will work?
    A: Replace the battery and click upload. Select continue and the drone will continue exactly from the point, it was interrupted. If you switch to manual mode and interrupt the flight, clicking Continue will return the drone to exact place where it was interrupted.

  • Q: Usually I work with DJI drones, like P4P, Matrice or Mavic, to make 10 to 30 squares kilometers areas, I work with a lot of flights to achieve this. Sometimes, the unevenness is more than 1.000 m and the slope very high! And the time that the UGCS tells me is not correct in these circumstances, for example, with slopes bigger than 60 or 70 degrees, the software shows 7 to 8 minutes, but it last actually 15 to 16 minutes. Is there an option to calculate better considering that the drone will use a lot much battery? I use an Excel I made for this but is not so accurate.
    A: All estimate calculations are approximate and based on perfect conditions. There are too many variables to create reliable flight estimates. You should rely on your experience and monitor battery usage during the flight.

  • Q: Am I understanding the continuation flight process correctly in that UgCS will not automatically calculate a safe route between the landing/take-off zone and the resume waypoint? My understanding from the presenter was that the user must manually enter a new waypoint from the takeoff area that is a higher elevation than the resume waypoint? If UgCS can understand the contour of the site area why then would UgCS not be able to calculate a safe flight height between point A (takeoff) and point B (resume waypoint)?"
    A: Route is calculated to keep safe distance above the ground, but as elevation data may not be enough accurate, also keeping in mind that UgCS has no data of buildings, trees, and other objects, it is recommended to create the first waypoint above all the obstacles.

  • Q: is there a way to reduce the stopping time for the drone at way points in the stop and turn mode?
    A: UgCS do not manage the way how Stop & turn waypoints are executed, this is drones algorithm, UgCS can not affect that.

  • Q: Is the 99 max waypoints just on DJI Drones or is it the limit with the software?
    A: It is autopilots limitation, for DJI those are 99 waypoints. In UgCS it is possible to change number of waypoints that will be uploaded, but autopilot limits can not be changed.

  • Q: Can we reduce the minimum height? for example from 5 m to 2 m?
    A: Minimum and maximum height is adjusted in Vehicle Profile. but flying at low altitudes is not recommended without an additional altitude sensor – laser altimeter, radar altimeter.

  • Q: The fence radius is only for flight planning or it works also during drone flight, I mean, In case I fly with the drone further than 1000 m (manually or auto) that I have previously set, what will do the drone?
    A: The Fence radius in Vehicle Properties is only for flight planning. This does not affect autopilot settings. If the fence radius on autopilot is smaller than in UgCS configuration, you will not be able to upload the route.

  • Q: We are currently testing vision-based and radar in PixHawk systems autopilots. We are omitting ADS-B since the FAA is looking at options to not allow ADS-B on sUAS.
    A: Didn’t get it, where’s the question?

  • Q: if there are 150 waypoints, and only 99 can be uploaded, will the remaining be uploaded in a second part?
    A: Yes, when continuing the mission, the rest of the waypoints will be uploaded

  • Q: Can I change my take-off point halfway through a project and continue from the new base? Or is it better to recut the project into 2 or more pieces?
    A: During the flight, the project is locked and if changed – route track will be rest. You can change the take-off point, but you will have to remember from which # waypoint you need to resume route.

  • Q: Is it possible to set up a mission where the drone takes off at one point, then lands at a distant point about 4 km and then takes off again and returns to the initial take-off point? Can I give the remote take-off instruction?
    A: It depends on the drone. DJI drones have the limitation that distance between adjacent waypoints may not exceed 2km, first and the last waypoint is considered as adjacent, too. After the drone is landed, it will require to upload a new route and perform arm command, it can not be completed fully autonomously. This is also limited to remote controller signal range.
    We are working on a news solution when the mobile network can be used for connection to the drones, in that case, it would be possible to operate with drones remotely.

  • Q: Does the drone pause at each waypoint, or is the camera just triggered at that point?
    A: It depends on route configuration. If turn type Stop&Turn is chosen, the drone will stop at the waypoint, if Adaptive bank turn is chosen, the drone will not stop. With Adaptive bank turn actions like Camera Angle, Wait is not applied.

  • Q: Is it best to resume your route from a waypoint previous to where you stopped or is it that accurate that you can continue the route?A: It depends, where relative to the first waypoint of the route is the location where the drone is initialized after stopping. If the location is close, it is safe.

  • Q: Is it possible to overcome the DJI 99 max waypoint using this function? in this case, do you need to have the laptop on the side near the drones?
    A: If your mission has more than 99 waypoints for DJI vehicle - the only way to fly it, is to load the mission in chunks. It’s necessary to have a laptop along you want to resume the route function to work.

  • Q: Do you support DJI Matrice 210 with dual gimbal, taking pictures with both cameras (X4S and XT) while autonomous flying?
    A: Dual gimbal currently is not supported.

  • Q: Is there a quick start guide? This seems extremely complicated compared to the simplicity of the DJI Pilot of Pix4D Capture. I understand there are a lot more features here, but I don't see the mass adoption of the platform with the current user interface.
    A: We have a lot of quick-start info on our YouTube channel and wiki.

  • Q: If you have to take control mid-flight due to a hazard, do you have to click the "hold" button first and then take over manual control?
    A: No, you’ll have to switch the button on the side of your RC to change the flight mode. When flight mode is changed, automatic route execution is canceled and you have manual control over the drone.

  • Q: Is it possible to create a geofence around the area that you are planning to fly over that activates an RTH in case you trespass this geofence? NFZ will not activate an RTH, only an alarm of UgCS. I want it as a safety measurement.
  • A: You can create an NFZ around the area you're planning to fly. UgCS will not allow building a route into the NFZ. UgCS can not create a fence on autopilot level, it should be resolved on autopilot native software if supported by autopilot.

  • Q: When I flew a route like this, the drone stopped at each Waypoint and continued after a second or so. now you showed a smooth flight. is it new to the version?
    A: Adaptive bank turn mode was used for demonstration, this can be configured for a route segment or each waypoint separately. Note, if Adaptive bank turn is used, most of the actions are not applied for any waypoint in the route (Camera angle, Wait action).

  • Q: Can I enter the coordinates of the reference points of the route manually if I do not have a map of the flight area?
    A: Yes, as you see there is a latitude and longitude info of each waypoint.

  • Q: When we have a long route, UGCS has a tool to split it. Should be done with segments. The problem is inside the photogrammetry tool you have one segment with 125 waypoints. Can you explain how to split into different segments?
    A: To split the Photogrammetry route you have to convert the route to waypoints. When the route is converted, you can perform splitting.

  • Q: For vertical facades:
    1. What's the minimum height of building to run a mission?
    2. Can vertical facades be done for buildings located in city streets where GPS signal is not the best and the height of the building can cause GPS and magnetic interference? Do I need a sophisticated RTK system?
    3. Does the no-fly zone applies for missions when not flying higher than the building itself?"

    A: 1. There are no minimum height requirements for the Facade scan. Minimum altitude must be evaluated by the drone pilot considering safety requirements and accuracy of the drone he is flying.
    2. Automatic routes are based on GPS coordinates. UgCS has no control over the drone during the flight. GPS coverage is mandatory for navigation. If the RTK system can resolve GPS signal issues, it can be a solution. 
    3. It depends on specific no-fly zone restrictions. If you have a specific flight zone that is below building height, you should receive permission from authorities to fly in this NFZ.

  • Q: Can you provide a PDH Credit for licensure purposes in the US? (It is continuing education for professionals).
    A: UgCS has an educational partnership program. To participate in the program please contact sales@ugcs.com

  • Q: Is this software built into the Mavic controllers?
    A: UgCS can be installed on the DJI Smart Controller. To install you have to download APK file from https://www.ugcs.com/direct-download-ugcs-for-dji

  • Q: Will it follow terrain when it’s going to a waypoint?
    A: Route is executed in safe or straight trajectories. If the Safe Trajectory is set, the drone will first ascend to target waypoint altitude and then perform flight to target waypoint on target altitude. If Straight Trajectory is set, the drone will perform the flight in a straight line from previous to next waypoint. There is no terrain follow mode between waypoints if the drone is flying with GPS and barometer. 
    Terrain following between waypoints is possible if an additional altimeter is used. UgCS currently supports rangefinders for Ardupilot drones. For DJI M600 and M200 series, UgCS offers an onboard computer - SkyHub which allows adding laser/radar altimeter for automatic terrain following flights. Discover the automatic terrain-following mode >>>

  • Q: If I switch to ati mode, I by pass the automatic sequence?
    A: If flight mode is changed, route execution is canceled.