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Follow me mode tests and recommended DJI fine tuning
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kleake1
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I spent some time today testing the "follow me" mode that I figure I will use often.  I am riding on a boat and having the phantom chase me, in effort to record the kids tubing and such.  A couple of issues.
#1 Altitude must be 33ft high.  I'm on the water, I only need to be 10-15ft high to capture what I want so 33ft.  Can this be overridden?  I couldn't find a way.  Edit: YES,,, once follow me is initiated, you can drop altitude down to about 6ft if needed.  You can also change distance and position of the follow by moving the right stick.
#2 Horizontal speed is 22mph max.  While tubing this isn't much of an issue, but when just riding around it can't keep up.  Normal cruise speed is 25-30mph.
#3 GPS location tracking is kinda jumpy.  It's smooth at slow speeds, but as the boat turns around and goes under the camera, it rotates in a very jumpy manner.  Updating the location more often would help smooth this out better.
#4 when you stop moving, it continues at 22mph until it gets to you, then overshoots and has to come back.  It should recognize that your speed has stopped, and it should slow as it approaches your location.
#5 It does not tilt the camera.  This plays into the altitude issue.  If you are 33ft above, you tilt down to see you, then you outrun the top of the screen.  If you tilt up to see you out front, then it doesn't see you when you are right below.
#6 Hovers when the battery is low.  If this happens, and you keep driving, by the time you realize it has stopped following you, you may not have enough battery to get back to you.  If you are paying attention it's not an issue, but I would think it would continue to follow so as you can descend quickly once you realize the battery is low instead of manually having to get it back to you after it stopped 1/2 mile back.  (After reviewing my flight logs, it could be that I lost GPS signal on my ipad.  Once lost, it stops following but does not resume.) Edit: Actually when you set the follow me mode, you can select the home position to be "origin" or "my location".  Origin is where you took off from, My Location is set at the P3's actual location and updated every second.  At least this can be selected, but adding "Pilot Location" as a choice would be good.

These are definitely not complaints as I am VERY happy DJI has released these added features.  These are only suggestions for improving and fine tuning these.

Example video: http://youtu.be/bbjFb4DZUio

2015-9-7
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DJI-Tim
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Thank you for your suggestions, we will work on it to make your flight experience even better!
2015-9-7
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Kingfisher
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Wow, I think this is great for the first attempt. I'm sure there will be some fine tuning in the coming months.
Do you have to have the RC as well as the tablet on board or does it just follow the tablet/phone??
2015-9-8
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kleake1
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It does not control the gimbal tilt, however you can manually do that while it's following.   And yes, you have to have the RC and tablet/mobile device on board.  It uses the GPS from your device and feeds that to the Phantom as a waypoint.   It would be nice to have a separate device it could follow that was waterproof and such.  For example so it would follow someone on a tube or jet ski that it could follow.   Definitely good for a first attempt, just needs a little refining to make it perfect.
2015-9-8
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Rob88
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DJI-Tim Posted at 2015-9-8 02:30
Thank you for your suggestions, we will work on it to make your flight experience even better!

Like the OP, I am also very pleased to see these new features and my suggestions for improvement are not meant as criticism.  What I would like to see most of all is a waterproof follow me gps beacon, similar to the one in the photo (courtesy of LILY).  While the DJI promotional page shows a skier being followed by his Phantom, I'm not sure how practical it is to ski or do other sports (especially water sports) while carrying the RC tethered to an ipad.  I would like to see DJI follow up with an accessory item such as this, which should not be too difficult to develop, since they are already available on the market at very reasonable prices.

I am hopeful that the follow me feature will evolve and improve with further development and the introduction of compatible accessories.  The other new features introduced with this latest firmware update are very useful as is, and very easy to learn.  I especially like the POI feature.
lily wristband.jpg
2015-9-8
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daviskw2004
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Thanks for the post very interesting... I know you want to keep the bird low for tubers and such but I wonder with more altitude if the jerkiness  would be reduced making the following turns smoother?

Butch
2015-9-8
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timkowalik
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I think I'm having an issue with the Follow me. I've noticed that it doesn't actually turn the drone to follow me. Like it's on course lock, but following me without inputs on the controller.  I've tried both my nvidia shield and my Galaxy S5.  Neither seem to make a difference.  I've seen a couple video's that seem to be different then what I'm experiencing. Anyone else?

2015-9-8
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StephLed
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timkowalik Posted at 2015-9-8 19:22
I think I'm having an issue with the Follow me. I've noticed that it doesn't actually turn the drone ...

I haven't had this issue with my iOS devices. To be sure, you're using cellular data and not wifi?
2015-9-8
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timkowalik
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StephLed Posted at 2015-9-9 08:33
I haven't had this issue with my iOS devices. To be sure, you're using cellular data and not wifi?

The Nvidia was wifi. The Cell I did both. one with wifi on, the other off. Complete restart of the drone for each flight.
2015-9-8
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timkowalik
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timkowalik Posted at 2015-9-9 08:49
The Nvidia was wifi. The Cell I did both. one with wifi on, the other off. Complete restart of the ...

I did notice the jumping in  the video and wonder if I'm having the same issue.  The jumping side to side is kinda like it's not transitioning from sideways flight to forward flight.  I was only walking around my house and the boat in the video is obviously moving faster then me, therefore giving it time to overcome the turning issue.
2015-9-8
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rayrokni
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timkowalik Posted at 2015-9-9 08:22
I think I'm having an issue with the Follow me. I've noticed that it doesn't actually turn the drone ...

do these devices have gps built in? do they have cellular data
are they on the recommended list
2015-9-8
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timkowalik
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rayrokni Posted at 2015-9-9 09:07
do these devices have gps built in? do they have cellular data
are they on the recommended list

Yes, They both have gps, but the nvidia does't have cellular signal, it's the wifi only model.  The cell phone has gps, it's a cell phone, and it is on the approved list. Galaxy S5
2015-9-8
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kleake1
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I think speed is playing a factor for you.  Notice into my video as I start to move it follows to the side very jumpy, but then as I start to pull away it rotates more into a follow behind and smooths out.  As you play the flight log back, you can see what it's doing.  Basically sets a waypoint and rotates to that point, then a second later a new point is made and it moves to that spot.  If those waypoints aren't far enough away, it catches up to one before the next is placed.  It does work better at medium speeds around 10-20mph.  I need to play with it more but I only had 2 batteries charged yesterday and it's raining tonight.
2015-9-8
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rayrokni
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timkowalik Posted at 2015-9-9 09:25
Yes, They both have gps, but the nvidia does't have cellular signal, it's the wifi only model.  Th ...

so i suppose u have the cell phone as your hotspot when u connect the shield to the rc?
2015-9-8
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Sailor P3
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Hi kleake1,

Congrats for a nice video. I also have a boat and I plan to use the follow-me mode to shoot videos while sailing.

I tested the follow me mode yesterday (while walking in the park) and it worked really well.

Honestly, I believe that your expectations are way too high. I think that it does the job quite well as it is, but if you expect a flying machine to be filming your moving boat while going at 30 mph and making fast turns (and U-turns!!), you better hire a professional Helicopter pilot ... Of course if you go at 30 mph the Phantom won't catch you since they  clearly stated that in that mode, the maximum speed is 22 mph (and you might have had some head wind...).  

And of course it will overshoot you if you go at 30 mph and you stop all of a sudden (may if you had slowed down gradually, and then stopped, it would have kept the boat in frame). Also, part of the problem might be your device (you stated that you lost the GPS signal on your iPad!).

And to top it off, you complain that it "just hovers" when your battery is low. Like you said, it is not an issue if you're paying attention. I just happen to firmly believe that when you fly a drone, you should always pay attention.

I think the P3 is a fantastic machine, incredible engineering, elegant software developement for a (relative) fair price. But we (all users) should be aware of its limitations and fly and enjoy it within these limitations.

Most of all, have fun, fly safely, and keep sending nice videos.
2015-9-8
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timkowalik
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rayrokni Posted at 2015-9-9 09:31
so i suppose u have the cell phone as your hotspot when u connect the shield to the rc?

Sometimes.  I was at home so when i used the shield, i was on the house wifi. If I'm out somewhere,  thats usually what I'll do.
2015-9-8
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jonesuki
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Thanks kleake1 for the great test and video. You have a strong heart to test it over the sea.

Just a wild guess, is it possible the jumpiness were caused by the instability of the GPS signal from your iPad? I noticed that your boat has a white roof. If your iPad is under the roof, the GPS signal may be blocked or weakened.

I don't have a boat, but I have similar experience when driving. GPS signal weaken significantly when my phone is not near the windshield.

Also, as a side issue, you may consider using ND filter for filming under bright sunlight to slow down the shutter and therefore make the video smoother.

Just my two cents, I've just order my ND filter a few days ago.
2015-9-8
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kleake1
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Sailor P3, maybe I didn't state it clearly enough that I think its a great start and that I am very happy to have the follow me mode.  My comments and suggestions are just that,,,, suggestions to make it work a little smoother and better.  The way it is, it will work perfectly in some scenarios, but others will be too jumpy.  Let me explain each scenario a little better that you mentioned and why I feel the way I do.

First, the P3 is capable of 35mph give or take, but never did it exceed 22mph in follow me mode.  Why the limitation?  And I didn't see in any documentation that it would be limited there, but I am sure I haven't read all of the documentation that has been released.  When I tested, there really wasn't much at all.  I don't expect it to follow me too well when doing u-turns, but actually it did that MUCH better than I expected it to.  The issue was the jerky motion as it got back on track behind me.  Similar to how it started out at the very beginning.  Clearly you can see where that motion would be an issue right?  Again, the follow was good, the jerky motion is not so good.  

Overshooting:  I had completely outran the phantom, then stopped and sat for about 20-30 seconds allowing the P3 to catch up to me.  It did not slow as it approached, instead hit the brakes when it passed my location, then went back and forth until it settled in.  Sure, if I was below 22mph and it was right on my tail it probably would have stopped much smoother, but I didn't try that scenario since I was then out of batteries.  An issue?  Not much really, but a suggestion that as the P3 approaches it's target, that it starts slowing it's forward motion more smoothly.  In fact, if it did this it would likely smooth the jerky motion of the first issue as well.  The loss of GPS signal didn't happen until the end of my video, and that caused the other issue which was more than likely the iPad fault, not the P3, so I don't blame it.

Lastly, I didn't "complain" about the hover on a weak battery,,, however, wouldn't it make more sense to continue to follow allowing the pilot to decide where to land?  At least until your critical low level?  Here is my reasoning.  I still had 25% battery, and it stopped following me.  Yes I was paying attention, but lets say I know its supposed to be following so I'm focusing on whatever else I am doing (driving a boat in this instance) and I check on the quad every 30 seconds or so.  By the time I realize it's not there, I have to regain control, determine where it is and where I am and fly it back to me (in 30 seconds it could be out of site).  The part that makes this bad is that when it stops, it sets the home point to the location of the quad so you can't just press "return to home" and get it back.  It's going to hover and then auto land where ever it is,,, and you may not know exactly where that is unless you are pretty quick at reading your map quickly.  A better scenario is to set the home location to where the controller is so that I can at least hit the home button and get it to return.   Finally, I am not saying the method DJI chose is bad, but I can see many scenarios where it would end in a crash landing or similar,,,,,, where continuing to follow and/or setting the final "home" location to where the controller is (at least until the critical battery level) would be MUCH safer as it will be closer to the pilot at that point and being able to use the "return to home" button could save you.

And I agree completely with your statement about the P3 being a fantastic machine!  I know I love mine and have really enjoyed flying it.  So just to be clear,,,,,, there are no complaints from me,,,, only suggestions to fine tune an already great platform.  
2015-9-8
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Flight Raptor
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There is lots to read on this and I may have missed this.  However, to use these new modes, in addition to moding the mode switch to the F position, don't we also have to do the following:
1) Go into the DJI GO App and enable "multi flight mode"  ?
2) Do we also have to go into the DJI Go App and also turn on IOC?
2015-9-8
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jayhkr
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DJI-Tim Posted at 2015-9-8 01:30
Thank you for your suggestions, we will work on it to make your flight experience even better!

This is what I like to see from our manufacturer! As long as we're heard that's what matters!!
2015-9-8
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kleake1
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Flight Raptor Posted at 2015-9-8 22:22
There is lots to read on this and I may have missed this.  However, to use these new modes, in addit ...

Excellent info here: http://forum.dji.com/thread-29855-1-1.html

I don't remember for sure if I changed those settings or not.  I was browsing all of the menus after the upgrade.
2015-9-8
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brycerichert
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Amazing what people expect for 1300 bucks. Insane. Turn on a dime follow me?  DJI, I think you need to offer a 5k option.
2015-9-8
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Flight Raptor
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kleake1@gmail.c Posted at 2015-9-9 00:25
Excellent info here: http://forum.dji.com/thread-29855-1-1.html

I don't remember for sure if I ch ...

Thanks....I actually already read this, which prompted me to ask the question, because it never stated anything about setting these parameters, but the manual says to allow F or A mode to work you need to enable 'multi mode', so I'm assuming you still have to do that and it also states for IOC intelligent operation you need to enable IOC.....

I could just enable them, but would prefer to leave things off (the default) if they aren't needed to be turned on.
2015-9-9
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kleake1
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Flight Raptor Posted at 2015-9-9 07:20
Thanks....I actually already read this, which prompted me to ask the question, because it never st ...

I could be wrong, but I believe they have to be on.  IOC comes on when you switch to F mode on the controller.  I know mine are on, but i'm not sure at what point I turned them on.
2015-9-9
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kleake1
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brycerichert Posted at 2015-9-9 01:23
Amazing what people expect for 1300 bucks. Insane. Turn on a dime follow me?  DJI, I think you need  ...

Geez guys, i'm not expecting perfection for $1300.  I posted this as my feedback to DJI, AND my observations of how the Follow Me function works so others can understand it as well.   Is there something wrong with suggesting ways to improve an already great product?  If a company like DJI wants to have the best product out there, that's what they do, improve their products to outperform the competition.  As I stated already,,,,,, it works pretty darn good as is, but there is always room for improvement.  My suggestions are just a refinement to improve it even more.  If you don't like improvements to your products, don't upgrade,,,, but by all means don't stand in the way of progress for others.  Isn't improvements how we got to the Phantom 3 anyway????  Would DJI still be around if all they had was the original Phantom?

DJI -  You have done a great job at these new modes, and I am at the top of the list for thanking you for your efforts.  Please take my comments as constructive and not as complaints.  In order to get perfection, you have to take positive steps,,, and I look at this as a HUGE step in the right direction.  And THANK YOU for acknowledging my feedback, that goes a long way in taking care of your customer.
2015-9-9
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heyandy
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Rob88 Posted at 2015-9-8 19:36
Like the OP, I am also very pleased to see these new features and my suggestions for improvement ar ...

Although these are nice stand alone units, the challenge is ALL communicates to the Phantom is done through lightbridge (proprietary connection), and the only thing that supports lightbridge is the remote control.  So unless DJI would consider building a lightbridge on a chip or opening up the protocol so others could use it, not going to happen unless DJI builds it themselves.
2015-9-9
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kleake1
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jonesuki Posted at 2015-9-8 21:40
Thanks kleake1 for the great test and video. You have a strong heart to test it over the sea.
...

Jonesuki, just saw your reply, somehow missed it earlier.   Since the boats canopy is just a canvas, I doubt it effected the GPS signal that much as I usually get a decent lock even inside my house.  The jumpiness has to do with the refresh rate at which it places the dot to follow.  I think the refresh rate is about 1 second.   When it is flying beside you, and you are moving ~10mph, there is quite a distance between spots and the quad is pretty fast at jumping between them.   Later in the video the ipad did lose GPS signal, howver, i'm not sure what the reason was for that as it came back a minute or so later and all was good again.  It's a new ipad air 2 so i'm hoping it was just a glitch of some sort.  It worked excellent for about 6 miles and was at around 40% battery when the ipad lost gps.

In the video I am flying with the polar pro 3-step filter on.  It does work great at slowing the shutter speed and making the splashing water look more natural, but it's not going to change the jerky motion of the camera.  I do recommend these filters though,,,,,, I use them often with great results.
2015-9-9
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Rob88
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heyandy Posted at 2015-9-9 09:46
Although these are nice stand alone units, the challenge is ALL communicates to the Phantom is don ...

I don't understand all the technology, but in another thread on this topic, a DJI staffer hinted that they might already have something similar in development.  See post #47 here http://forum.dji.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=30363&page=2#pid213994
2015-9-9
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kleake1
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Did some more experimenting and learned a few more things.  Altitude can be lowered once the follow me is initiated.  And the home location can be set to the "origin" or "My Location" which is actually the P3 location and is updated every second or so.  I put my edits in the original post.
2015-9-10
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reuben
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Can you tell me how to activate "follow me"...

I've selected multiple mode in dji go (for some reason IOC is greyed - dunno why), then flipped the switch to f-thingy on the remote... but I don't get any option on the screen...

I have the latest firmware and Go app...
2016-1-31
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kleake1
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This video shows how to go into the settings to make sure you have it enabled:   
Once it is enabled, you have to be in the air to turn it on.  Get up in the air, then switch your P.A.F switch to the F mode and it should pop up the options on your screen.  From there, follow the prompts to set it up how you want.  Follow me requires you to be above 33ft in the air if I remember right, but once activated you can manually come down a little closer and it will maintain.
2016-1-31
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reuben
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kleake1@gmail.c Posted at 2016-1-31 19:48
This video shows how to go into the settings to make sure you have it enabled: https://youtu.be/n_3z ...

Thanks for the quick response...

My IOC slider, right beneath multi flight is greyed... i don't know why... can't slide it to active... :-/

Any idea?
2016-1-31
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WetDog
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kleake1@gmail.c Posted at 2015-9-9 05:54
Jonesuki, just saw your reply, somehow missed it earlier.   Since the boats canopy is just a canva ...

What is your VPS setting?  At low altitudes over water it can create problems.  Since you aren't inside, you can safely turn it off and leave it off.
2016-1-31
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Kookydo
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reuben Posted at 2016-1-31 09:24
Thanks for the quick response...

My IOC slider, right beneath multi flight is greyed... i don't  ...

mine is also greyed out so I cant move it..
2016-1-31
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reuben
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Kookydo Posted at 2016-1-31 21:16
mine is also greyed out so I cant move it..

Found a thread for it:
http://forum.dji.com/thread-30356-1-1.html
2016-1-31
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reuben
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reuben Posted at 2016-1-31 22:14
Found a thread for it:
http://forum.dji.com/thread-30356-1-1.html

And this:

http://www.phantompilots.com/threads/ioc-greyed-out.53170/

Seeing that we just need to flip the switch while in the air with GPS connected for it to work.... heading outside to try it out... it's 22h19 here... pitch dark outside.... last time i tried a night flight, the P3P went hay wire as soon as I took off... went backwards into the plants... broke the gimbal... just repaired it after several months... but I can't wait to try the IOC thing... .lol
2016-1-31
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lidolido77
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Autopilot pretty much addresses all the issues the OP brought up, as its designed for natural camera movements and proper subject tracking. I think it's pretty amazing, but it may be way too much depending on how serious you are at getting these shots. And yes, it will yaw and tilt your camera properly, just like an Inspire 1.
2016-1-31
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reuben
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Ok so I went out in the dark and tried it... IT WORKED... don't bother about the IOC toggle in the GO settings...
Once you have GPS, you just flip the mechanical switch to F on the left hand side of the remote... you also need to have GPS on your tablet... but mine was telling me that I don't have IMU sensors and what not on my device... (it is a chinese thing - Chuwi V10HD) .... Gonna try tomo with my Xperia ZR...
2016-1-31
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aefrenette
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My follow me won't work on my phantom 3 pro. It always says gps is to low signal but it's not
2016-4-19
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