Automated Flight

Letting DroneDeploy fly your drone for you for the first time can be a little scary. After all, you’re a better pilot than the software, right? Well, that is not always the case if you plan your flight properly and account for all obstacles and weather conditions.

In the event that you would like to re-engage control of the drone, you can toggle the flight mode of your drone - for instance, Sport Mode to Tripod Mode (this varies by model of drone you are flying).

Alternatively, you can always press the return to home (RTH) button on your controller for your drone to abort the automated flight and return to the home point (the RTH button setup also varies by drone model)

Things to be mindful of:

  • Each type of DJI drone functions just a bit differently with DroneDeploy. For example, the Phantom 3 series doesn’t have obstacle avoidance. Also the Phantom 3 series requires you to toggle to “F” mode to fly. 
  • Top heavy drones can topple over at take off if you are taking off from a slanted surface. 
  • Drone Deploy is NOT FOOLPROOF. Windy takeoffs can be difficult with the Phantom series because they are top heavy. 
  • We ONLY operate our drones with battery levels of 35% and higher.  Once the battery level reaches 35%, we return to the home-point and swap batteries. 
  • PAY CLOSE ATTENTION to DroneDeploy actually taking photographs during the flight. You can see the photo count in the live flight details. There have been times when the software glitches and the entire flight is completed but not a single image is taken. If you catch this glitch, use the RTH feature and restart the mission. Otherwise you are wasting battery life. 

To start the flight automation with DroneDeploy, you’ll want to have the drone set up and ready for flight. That means a fresh battery, your clearances from buildings/obstructions, and your position from which you will be flying. We recommend flying the automated mission AFTER the manual mission. 

Next, you will execute as follows:

1-Set out your scale measurement. Remember to place it on a flat surface and go at least 15’

2-Start your drone

3-Start your transmitter

4-Confirm you have a good cable connection from your phone to the transmitter as a faulty wire can cause the drone to return to home mid flight. 

5-Set the transmitter mode to the appropriate setting (not applicable to all drones - DroneDeploy will tell you if you need to or not).

6-Confirm your flight altitude and change it in the mobile application if necessary.

7-Make a mental note of how many images your flight should take.

8-DroneDeploy will tell you “drone connected” once the transmitter is turned on and pairs with the drone. 

9-Once the drone is connected and ready to go, you will start the flight by tapping the blue button on the bottom right hand corner, which will initiate the DroneDeploy functions check.

Thereafter you will click again on the bottom right to start the flight.

Other Things to Note:

  • If your drone does not connect with DroneDeploy, check your cable connecting the phone and the transmitter. Often this is the culprit.
  • If your phone still does not connect, restart the drone and the transmitter.
  • If your drone does not GPS LOCK, make sure you are not taking off nearby any metal sources like cars, manhole covers, irrigation lines, buried power lines, or anything else that may cause magnetic interference.
  • Avoid taking off from sloped surfaces as this may case the drone to tip over if you are using a Phantom.