Autopilot for DJI
At its core, Autopilot is a highly sophisticated and robust autonomous flight control system designed to automate flight and camera control sequences for your Inspire/Phantom that are too difficult or impossible to perform manually via your RC/iOS device. Each feature, setting, interface element, and safeguard has been carefully designed and refined to serve a very specific and intentional purpose.
Autopilot is organized around the concept of selectable Modes, which are grouped into Human, Computer, and Combined Flight Control categories. Each Mode is designed to provide a combination of movement and/or gimbal assistance, allowing the user to choose exactly how much control to delegate to the computer.
The foundational Mode of Autopilot is Focus, where the human operator still controls the movement of the aircraft while the computer (Autopilot) controls the gimbal. Focus Mode offers several gimbal control strategies, the most powerful of which is Subject. This strategy enables Autopilot to keep a selected target center-framed both horizontally using GPS, and vertically using a dynamic altimeter reference. The target can be a fixed point of interest, the iOS device connected to the RC, the RC itself, or even a remote device or aircraft.
The other Modes available in Autopilot further extend Focus by automating the flight of the aircraft in addition to the camera & gimbal. For example, Autopilot can Orbit around a moving target, even while the target and/or aircraft change altitude.
In addition to the selectable Modes, there are several other key features that differentiate Autopilot, including: dynamic altimeter reference, advanced safeguards, adaptive horizontal power, pre-flight planning, real-time controls, and a custom flight controller.
Bottom line: the combination of DJI’s premium hardware and Autofight Logic’s industry-leading software allows you to create smooth, properly framed, and visually stunning imagery rivaling even the most advanced production studios.
- Selectable Modes: Select a Flight Control Mode that best suits your needs for a given flight plan. New Modes will be released over time.
- Custom Flight Controller: While most other apps use the DJI Flight Controller included in the SDK, Autopilot is designed around a Custom Flight Controller that was purpose-built with smooth and safe autonomous flight control as its primary function. By using a Custom Flight Controller, Autopilot is able to offer unique functionality, especially in Waypoint Mode. The Autopilot Flight Controller has been extensively tested and proven to work in real world scenarios, and it has been in production use since the original launch of Autopilot in March 2015 - many months before any other app was available with advanced autonomous flight features.
- Advanced Safeguards: Autopilot enables advanced safeguards by default, such as Altitude Priority. See the full list of Settings for more details.
- Dynamic Altitude Reference: Autopilot allows selecting a Dynamic Altitude Reference (device barometer or GPS). This enables you to change altitude safely during Follow Mode (for example, driving uphill or skiing downhill) while Autopilot keeps you perfectly framed and the aircraft above ground level.
- Motion Tracking: Use GPS to make your aircraft Follow you. Autopilot can even use Image Recognition in GPS denied situations via the Pattern Strategy in Focus Mode.
- Point-of-Interest: Select a point-of-interest for the Focus Subject, Orbit Center, Target Mark, Zip Line Point, or Intercept Origin.
- Airspace: Connect one or more devices and/or aircraft in an Airspace to share locations information which can be used for Point-of-Interest.
- Flight Dashboard: Monitor all the details of your flight, including telemetry, live video, and Google Maps with offline caching.
- Pre-Flight Planning: Set Mode Controls before flying to save battery power, and save a Flight Plan to repeat the same flight multiple times.
- User Accounts: Create a free Autopilot user account to enable syncing Flight Plans across devices.
- Flight Recorder: Automatically record audio, settings, telemetry, commands, and control inputs in the same way a black box does on a modern airliner.
- Barometric Altimeter: Take advantage of the barometer on newer iOS devices for increased accuracy in altimeter readings.
- Background Execution: Multi-task with other apps or lock your phone while Autopilot continues to execute in the background.
- Integration: Use Autopilot with services you already love such as Healthy Drones and Drone Logbook.
Comments and experience on using the DJI SDK
Autopilot was one of the first commercially available apps on the App Store that used the DJI SDK. Since our launch, we have watched the DJI SDK evolve into a world class interface for controlling the most advanced drones in the industry. The DJI SDK team has been incredibly responsive to our feature requests and issue reports and we can confidently state that the DJI platform is both reliable and feature rich.