Flight parameters and tips


Flying Tips

  • Fly between 8 am and 5 pm: Starting too early or finishing too late will create undesired, big shadows on the trees.

  • Fly from the highest point, but keep in close proximity of the mission: Setup the drone in a position near to the mission you are to do next. Always set up in an open area at the highest point in the block to give you the best line-of-sight when the drone is flying and keep a good connection to the remote control.
  • Make sure obstacle avoidance is switched on: Go to your DJI Go 4 app and switch on obstacle avoidance underneath the visual navigation settings.
  • Resume mission: If you need to change battery mid-mission, just click the stop button, fly manually home or use ‘Go Home’, replace the battery, and once GPS connection is established again you can click play in order to launch the drone again and have it resume the mission.
  • Switch to manual control: At any point, you can retake complete manual control by switching the drone into Sport mode.


Camera Settings

These are the camera settings that would be set by our app automatically:

  • 4k Video at 60fps
  • Camera white balance: 5600K
  • Camera mode: Shutter Priority
  • ISO: Auto
  • Shutter Speed: 1/1250s
  • Video Captions: On
  • Color profile: None
  • Style: Sharpness -1, Contrast -2, Saturation -2


Flight Procedure

Pre-flight Checks:

  • Sync app and preview the missions in the Aeroview InField App.
  • Calibrate drone compass in DJI GO.
  • Ensure obstacle avoidance is enabled (Forward AND Downward vision).
  • Make sure camera settings are set to default in DJI Go 4. The Infield app will automatically set the correct camera parameters.
  • Make sure that the camera of the phantom is looking perfectly straight. This can be adjusted in the DJI Go 4 app. (This can cause the drone the fly skew when recording).
  • Check for power lines in the orchard you are flying. (We try our best to avoid power lines when creating missions, but they are very hard it's possible that we miss them).
  • Make sure you are launching from the highest point of the orchard.
  • Ensure that no farmworkers are close to a waypoint when the drone is scanning the trees.
  • Try to identify missions that are close together, so you can avoid driving around the farm.
  • Ensure you have sufficient space on your memory card.
  • Wipe your lens before the flight to prevent poor visual.
  • Check the first, middle and last videos of missions to ensure they are not blurry or too bright/dark. 


Aeroview InField Flight Settings:

These are the flight parameters that will determine some of the specifics of the flights:

  • Leave tree radius at default unless prompted by app.
  • If Prompted by app, the tree radius should be measured and changed before flight.
  • When you have opened a scout mission, there will be a ‘settings’ tab top right. Clicking on that will open the flight settings shown below.
Speed               Altitude                   Distance to tree          Descent speed           Recording distance      Tree radius     
10 m/s               Pilot's decision         3 m                               1 m/s                            12 m/s                            2 m/s
  1. Speed is the speed it flies between sample points. 10m/s is the default. Can be lowered if you are not comfortable with that speed.
  2. Altitude is the height it will fly at between points, relative to its starting point. For small trees, <3m on a flat field having this at 10m is very efficient. If the trees are bigger or there is some sloping you can increase this to 15m or even 20 in extreme cases.
  3. Distance to tree is the distance from the tree canopy at which the drone will record the video
  4. Descent speed is the speed the drone will descend down to the tree. Leave at 1m/s.
  5. Recording Distance is the distance the drone moves down the row when capturing the video.
  6. Tree canopy Radius is the radius of the trees in the orchard.


Basic flight steps:

  1. Set up the drone in a position close to the mission you are going to do next. Always set up in an open area at the highest point in the block to give you the best line-of-sight when the drone is flying.
  2. Complete the pre-flight checks.
  3. Plug the remote into the phone and open Aeroview InField.
  4. Tap on ‘Select a Planned Scout’.
  5. From the list, select the drone scout mission to complete. Use the preview map shown and the printed map provided to orientate where each is and then select the right one. You can enter into a mission and then you’ll see your location relative to the mission waypoints.
  6. Make sure the flight parameters have been set as desired/required.
  7. Click the blue 'Play' button once ready. The blue play icon will change to a Red Stop icon. The drone will now begin a (mostly) autonomous flight. At any point, you can stop the mission by clicking the ‘Stop’ button. If a mission is stopped, you can resume it by clicking the blue ‘Play’ button.


Detailed steps for side flights:

  1. Select ‘Side Flight’ Option.
  2. After tapping the blue play button the drone will take off automatically. You can also manually take off the drone and start the mission while it is in the air.
  3. The drone will ascend to the target altitude and the drone will automatically orientate to face the target trees.
  4. The drone will move to the first waypoint at the selected flight speed.
  5. You can switch between having the Map or Camera full screen by clicking on the small screen on the right.
  6. Once the drone has arrived at the waypoint, A reticle will then appear on the screen and the drone will descend until ultrasound detects the tree. While descending, adjust the position of the drone so that the reticle is centred on top of a tree. Pick the closest tree to the reticle.
  7. Once the drone stops above the tree, the reticle will disappear,
  8. The drone will then reverse a set distance.
  9. At this point adjust the gimbal angle using the left wheel on the remote to get the tree into frame if it was misaligned,
  10. The drone will then move a set distance to the right, start a video recording, and move the set distance to the left ‘capturing’ the entire tree. This is automatic. (Do not adjust the gimbal while the drone is recording)
  11. After video capture, the drone will drop a red marker on the map, and then ascend and move to the next waypoint.
  12. Repeat process from (d.)
  13. When all waypoints have been completed, the mission will end and the drone will hover idle. Check the map to make sure that for each waypoint there is a marker.
  14. Click ‘End’ and SAVE! This will then end the mission, save it and close the video stream (so don’t end it yet if you still need the video stream to fly home).


Tips, Tricks and Good Practices:

  • At any point, you can obtain complete manual control by switching the drone into Sport mode, then back to position mode.
  • If there is a power line close to the waypoint, you can move the waypoint by touching and dragging the blue dot to a safe location. See tutorial video here.
  • If you find you do not have enough time to position the drone before it stops descending, increase the altitude. Conversely, if you have extra time you can decrease the altitude to save some time and increase battery efficiency.
  • Clicking the ‘Stop’ button will stop the mission and put the drone into a hover state. Click blue ‘Play’ again to resume the mission from where it left off.
  • If you need to change the battery mid-mission you can click the stop button, fly manually home or use ‘Go Home’ and replace the battery. Once the GPS connection is established again you can click play to launch the drone again and have it resume the mission.
  • You can ‘drag up’ the bar at the bottom to view the GPS connection and Signal Strength. Signal strength is a measure of the connection between the Drone and the Remote Controller.
  • Fly from the highest point.
  • For safety, take off manually, position the drone above the orchard and then press play.
  • If the drone loses connection, the mission will stop.
  • If you click save accidentally before you finish the mission, you can go to 'Scout History', go to the mission and click ‘Edit’. It will allow you to resume from where the mission stopped. This can also be used if you have made a mistake while flying the mission. NB! This can only be done before you sync.
  • If you would like to redo the current mission for whatever reason, you should stop the mission and when prompted to save, click 'no'. This will remove all data collected at the waypoints and will allow you to start afresh.
  • Open and view the scout missions while you have an internet connection. This will download and cache the satellite maps in case you have no signal connection at the farm.
  • Keep your finger on the mode switch so you can take quick action in any scenario.
  • Always scout the surroundings of the missions for power lines and other obstructions before starting each mission.
  • Position yourself strategically. You need to stay close to missions, but there are cases when you can position yourself to reach more than one mission from a single location. The higher you can be relative to the trees will improve Line-of-sight and signal connection.
  • After the first flight, check the videos on the SD card and make sure they look fine before starting the next flight.
  • When aligning the drone above the waypoint, make sure to choose the largest tree in the vicinity. If you align the drone to a smaller tree, the drone could potentially crash into an adjacent bigger tree.
  • Make sure the drone is aligned perfectly in the centre of the tree.
  • For safety, take off manually, position the drone above the orchard and then press play.
  • When the drone descends above the tree, it will descend to a distance of 1.3m – 1.6m as displayed on the 'ultrasonic' value on the app.
  • If your drone doesn’t stop recording, switch to sport mode and back to P-mode, press stop and then start again. This usually happens when the drone detects an object as it's moving to the left while recording. You can avoid this by moving the drone to a different tree that doesn’t have a big object on the row behind it.
  • If the drone descends less than 1m to the tree, you can press the 'Stop Descent' button, and the drone will stop at that point and carry on with the waypoint.
  • The drone will auto-rotate based on the row direction but does not take into account the direction of the sun. If the drone fasces the sun, manually yaw the drone 180 and manually line up the drone perpendicular to the row.


Completing a mission:

  • When all waypoints have been completed, the mission will end and the drone will hover idle. Check the map to make sure each waypoint has a marker.
  • Click ‘End’ and SAVE! This will then end the mission, save it and close the video stream. Do not end it yet if you still need the video stream to fly home.
  • That particular mission is now complete! Plug in a new drone battery if need be, select the next mission and complete all the missions assigned to you for that day.
  • Once you have completed all the missions for the day, you can sync the data by clicking on the ‘sync’ button on the right of the home screen.


Troubleshooting:

Listed below are some problems you may encounter. Always try the first solution below first. If the issue still persists then try the other suggested solutions.

You’ll notice a common step of solutions throughout, which will usually solve most of the issues you may encounter. These are:

  1. Restart the app.
  2. Power cycle the RC.
  3. Power cycle the drone.

Issue 

Solution

Drone will not connect to Infield app

  1. Unplug and replug the device, restart the app.
  2. Power Cycle drone and RC.
  3. Check to see if you get a connection in DJI GO. If can’t connect to DJI GO either it is not our app.

Drone is just hovering after starting a mission

  1. Stop the mission, manually move the drone around a bit, resume the mission.
  2. Restart the app.
  3. Power cycle Drone and RC.

Marker did not drop after recording video

  1. Stop mission and resume it, the drone will go back and retake that video. 
  2. If still not dropping the marker, let it continue to the next point and see if it is dropping a  marker there.  If yes,  try  (1)  again. If no, power cycle everything. 

No markers are dropping at all

  1. Power Cycle everything.

There is an obstruction in the flight path

  1. Stop the mission, take manual control and fly the drone safely around the obstruction, resume mission.

There is an obstruction directly above the waypoint

  1. Stop the mission, increase altitude setting to way above obstacle, resume mission. The drone will increase altitude, and now when it starts the descent you will have time to move the drone to a tree far away from the obstacle. You will not get the marked tree, but that is okay and allows you to continue with the rest of the mission.

Mission failed with an error


  1.   Observe error message and resolve if solution is clear.
  2.   Otherwise, just try resuming it. Restart app and resume mission.

App crashed 


  1.   Fly the drone to safe hover point, reopen the app and resume the mission. You should not have lost any progress.
Signal connection is low / disconnecting
  1. Point the RC antennas towards the drone’s position. Stand away from any objects and vehicles.
  2. Gain elevation. Potentially this means standing on top of your vehicle. Gaining just a couple of meters elevation above the trees will improve the signal connection significantly.
  3. Move closer to the drone.
  4. If the ‘Signal Strength’ is below 60% you need to improve the signal strength by the above methods.