Flying with SmartAP GCS

Mainwindow overview

Here is the brief overview of the information, user interface and control buttons:

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If you want to save some space on the screen you can hide the WP menu:

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Caching the map

If you want to cache the part of the map in order to use it next time without internet connection you can set the map at the area you want, right click and choose “Cache current area”. Cache window will pop-up. After the window is closed you can use this part of the map next time without internet connection.

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Getting the video

SmartAP GCS allows to see the real-time video feed right in the application under the Primary Flight Display (PFD). To get the video streaming you’ll need a special USB adapter called EasyCAP. Right-click on the PFD and select the video source you would like to use. For EasyCAP it’s usually OEM Device but for some other version this name might be different.

Make sure to connect EasyCAP to your computer before starting SmartAP GCS application.

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After that you’ll be able to see the video under PFD. Also you can disable overlay by unchecking “Enable overlay”.

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Autonomous Flights

Waypoints flight

Autonomous mission flights are based on waypoints navigation. To insert the new waypoint you just need to double-click on the map. The first waypoint was created, added to the map and to the waypoints list table on the right:

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Waypoints default settings group box above the waypoints table allows setting the default parameters for the new waypoint added to the map:

  • Alt: Altitude in meters above takeoff point (home altitude)
  • Delay: Amount of seconds to hover after reaching the waypoint
  • RAD: Radius of acceptance (obsolete parameter, not used)
  • SPD: Speed of flying to the next waypoint
  • HDG: Heading angle in degrees to hold when flying to the next waypoint

New waypoints can be added by double-clicking on the map: Image

Waypoints interface supports the following hot keys:

  • CTRL + A: Select all waypoints
  • CTRL + Multiple clicks on waypoints: Select multiple waypoints
  • CTRL + Double click on path: Insert new waypoint in between
  • Drag&drop functions for one or multiple waypoints available as well

Waypoint parameters can be adjusted in the waypoints list table by double clicking on a specific field. The system supports the following waypoint types (Commands) which can be changed by clicking on Command cell for a specific waypoint:

  • Waypoint: regular point to fly through in air
  • Take off: start autonomous take off
  • Landing: perform landing over the point

The system allows creating various mission scenarios – including autonomous take off and / or landing point types or having only waypoints type in the list:

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In the first case the vehicle should be airborne before activating autonomous mode. After AUTO mode was activated the vehicle will start flying to the first waypoint. If the system is not airborne then the vehicle will not allow switching to the autonomous flight mode. In the second case the vehicle should be on the ground before activating autonomous mode. After AUTO mode was activated the vehicle will start autonomous take off and then continue flying to the next waypoint. If the vehicle is airborne before starting AUTO it will skip the Take off waypoint.

After the mission was created it can be either send to the vehicle or saved to a file on your computer locally, options are:

  • Send waypoints to the vehicle
  • Read waypoints from the vehicle
  • Save waypoints to file
  • Read waypoints from file

If you click "Send waypoints to the vehicle" then you can notice the status of sending the mission in the right-bottom corner of the application:

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Finally, you will see Waypoints send OK message. Also you can click (Read waypoints from the vehicle) to get the waypoints stored in the vehicle and make sure that the mission was uploaded correctly. Before the flight you need to ARM the system. The system can be armed using the RC transmitter stick or by clicking the ARM / DISARM button in the GCS.

Home position (including altitude) is set on every ARM event. Make sure to ARM the system after it got the stable GPS satellites signal. Saving the valid home position and altitude is important for calculating the waypoints altitude.

After you armed the system you can notice the Home icon on the map representing the home position. This position will be used for RTH (Return to Home) mode and its altitude will be used as an altitude reference for the waypoints. If you want to change the home position manually you can right-click on home icon and use Edit to set the new Lat / Lon / Alt coordinates or simply drag & drop the home icon. You will get the message asking if you want to send the updated home position back to the vehicle. Press Ok.

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If you don’t have Take off type of the waypoint in your list – you’ll need to take off manually or press Take off button. After the vehicle is airborne you can press AUTO button or switch to AUTO mode using your RC transmitter. The vehicle will start flying to the first waypoint.

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Flight progress can be seen in real-time with the indication of the vehicle path. After the last waypoint reached the vehicle will enter hovering mode and maintain the altitude and position of the last point.

Creating a region

If the task is mapping it's easier to specify the desired region of interest (can be a polygon of any shape with unlimited number of points) and the waypoints will be generated automatically based on the camera settings and desired resolution of the images. Select the Region mode instead of the default Waypoints mode in the bottom left corner of the map. Image

Now you can add region points on the map and after the third point is added the initial flight plan will be generated automatically: Image You can also drag&drop the points of the region and the flight plan will be regenerated automatically. If you want to change the camera resolution, desired images resolution or adjust the flight plan you can pull the menu on the right and also see the detailed information about the created flight plan. Image

If you want to append the autonomous take off and landing commands to the created flight plan you can simply set Take off and Landing for the first and last generated waypoints respectively: Image

Once you've done that you'll be able to relocate Takeoff and Landing points to any desired location, simply drag&drop them: Image

After you've created the flight plan you can either save it to file or upload to the autopilot as it was described above.

Guided flight

Guided flight mode which is also know as "Fly here" mode allows setting and moving the desired position of the vehicle interactively in real-time. This mode is available only if the vehicle is already flying in the air. To activate the guided flight mode simply right-click on the map of the GCS at the desired position of the vehicle.

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Once you clicked on the map the vehicle will start flying to that point and you will see the cross on the map indicating the target position of the vehicle. Image

The altitude for the guided point can be set in the Waypoint default settings box: Image

If you want to change the position of the vehicle you can simply drag&drop the cross on the map or right-click on the map and click Fly Here. Repositioning can be done anytime. Image

Once the vehicle achieved the target position it starts hoveing at the point awaiting for the other point or flight mode change.