Please select Into the mobile phone version | Continue to access the computer ver.
Concerned about lack of waypoint / Ground Station support
2119 7 2015-4-13
Uploading and Loding Picture ...(0/1)
o(^-^)o
aelwyn
lvl.1
Flight distance : 74409 ft
United States
Offline

Like they did last week with the announcement of the Phantom 3, the tech blogs are now all covering the 3D Robotics Solo. Obviously, it's too early for hands-on comparisons, but from a purely technical standpoint, there are actually a number of features where the Phantom 3 seems to have a significant edge over the 3DR model, not least of all price (but also slightly longer battery life, GLONASS support, LightBridge, probably some other things I haven't noticed). While the Solo isn't into Inspire 1 territory, it's considerably more expensive (with gimbal and GoPro) than, say, the Phantom 3 Professional.

But...

3D Robotics is playing up their "Smart Shots" features: Cable Cam, Orbit, Selfie and Follow. The first, specifically, is a basic sort of waypointing (only two points), but all of those types of autonomous flight modes are extremely appealing to me.

I've already pre-ordered a Phantom 3 Professional on Amazon. However, in light of DJI's evident reluctance to include any sort of autonomous flight modes — something that its customers have loudly indicated is important to them — I'm seriously considering canceling my order. At least one person purporting to be a DJI employee has said, "We could do it but choose to let third parties make the applications." That statement is a bit frustrating, because it's so dismissive of something DJI's customers want. Who knows when there will be third party applications that solve this problem, let alone whether or not they'll be safe or reliable to use?


I'm hoping that there is someone at DJI paying attention to this forum (or at least someone in a position to pass along these sentiments to someone who makes decisions). I can't be the only one second-guessing his own interest in the Phantom 3 over this issue.
2015-4-13
Use props
ausidcstaff
lvl.2

United States
Offline

DJI doesn't care! They have figure out that they don't need to spend the cash for development. Let other developers take the liability issue. Its actually a great business model. Charge the same cost for the bird and then have someone else do the development for you at no cost. Well played DJI well played.
2015-4-13
Use props
aelwyn
lvl.1
Flight distance : 74409 ft
United States
Offline

Well... given your profile pic, it's evident you have some sort of beef with DJI, but you bring up an interesting point about why DJI would pawn this off on third-party developers: Is it about liability? I can sort of understand them being hesitant about autonomous flight modes, but a) they've done it before and b) the just-announced competing product from 3DR not only offers them, but is very actively promoting and marketing them. If they can do it, why won't DJI?

Fear of liability? Laziness? Not enough time to include it in their own release schedule?

Who knows... but it's beside the point. In the end, it's simply a missing feature. An *important* missing feature. What should matter to DJI is the opportunity this omission gives to 3D Robotics. I have no doubt the Phantom 3 will be wildly successful, and deservedly so. But to some consumers (myself among them), the autonomous flight modes are very, very compelling... and between the Phantom 3 and the Solo, only one of them will offer that functionality at launch. DJI is giving a competitor an advantage in this regard.
2015-4-13
Use props
pete1144
lvl.4

United States
Offline

I have said this in about a thousand places around the Internet....and several times on these pages. There is NOT going to be any Ground Station nor a waypoint system produced by DJI. There are lots of reasons...but the chief one is that most regulators of airspace do not want autonomous vehicles flying about. They believe in the philosophy of "observe and avoid". An autonomous vehicle is assumed to be used outside LOS or at least it has the capability. The P2's are "grandfathered" in, like cars that run on leaded fuel....but as they fall into obsolescence they will not be replaced. If a small development company wants to develop a GS, DJI says "go ahead". But that small company will have to deal with all the liability that GS will bring.
2015-4-13
Use props
aelwyn
lvl.1
Flight distance : 74409 ft
United States
Offline

If the concern is solely about liability, then DJI should explore more limited versions of autonomous flight. 3D Robotics is obviously doing this with their "Smart Shots." Cable Cam is limited to TWO waypoints, which means continuous LOS is likely, but more importantly it's still useful for capturing smooth lateral motion in video. Orbit causes the drone to orbit around a fixed point, so again, line of sight's not an issue. Same with the selfie, which backs away from the pilot and then returns in a straight line... and the Follow function, which follows the pilot automatically. None of these allow such a huge gap between the pilot and the drone that most "regulators of airspace" would likely take issue (at least, not any more than they do with the entire concept of drones for recreational use).

Yes, these are much more limited implementations of autonomous flight, to be sure... but they would still allow the capture of some really interesting video (which is the whole point) without the drone going completely "off the reservation." It seems like a good compromise between Ground Station and nothing.

And, again, if 3D Robotics is willing to offer this functionality, I don't buy any excuse DJI could have for not doing so. 3DR isn't as big or as well-known as DJI (at least, not yet...), but they're hardly a small company and they seem fully invested in growing AND providing their customers with a top-notch experience.
It's depressing that I feel like I'm slowly talking myself into canceling my Phantom 3 preorder. I really don't want to pay more for the Solo, but I'm starting to think it's the better option for me. Sigh.
2015-4-13
Use props
pete1144
lvl.4

United States
Offline

DJI is in the driver-seat...3DR has a lot of catching up to do. They have to take chances to get market share. Personally, I like the "Live Map" more than waypoint capability.
2015-4-13
Use props
chefobi
lvl.2

United States
Offline

I am assuming we will get all the SDK features such as Follow Me and Ground Station/Waypoints by late August or September of 2015. The teams competing for the prize of building such apps won't present until August 26. Here's the link to the dates of the development competition: http://dev.dji.com/events/developer_challenge2015
2015-4-13
Use props
paul
lvl.3

United States
Offline

Peeps, if there's a market, the market will be filled.  If DJI doesn't want the liability of developing waypoint-enabled software, good.

Consider the Ultimate Flight app.  That's being developed by one guy, and it's pretty damn good and getting better quickly.  He doesn't have to develop "from scratch", as I assume he's been provided with documentation something similar to: "Here's how you send a command to move to a specified longitude/latitude/altitude." and a "change heading" command, etc.  Those are furnished by DJI.  All his software has to do is call these commands.  Everything else is just development of an attractive UI and presenting data from the drone.

All DJI needs to do is make the tools available to developers ASAP.  It's only a problem if developers don't have access, or if there are delays providing documentation or supporting those commands.

If they develop it themselves, they kill the market and we'll be stuck with what they do.  If they leave it "open source" as it were, lots of developers can compete and we get to choose the apps we like best.
2015-4-13
Use props
Advanced
You need to log in before you can reply Login | Register now

Credit Rules