Drone Harmony Mobile offers two fundamentally different ways of launching the drone in a Drone Harmony automated mission: Waypoint and Virtual Stick. In this article we describe the differences between them and gives a few recommendations with regard to which launch type is advised in which situation.
A launch type determines the way that Drone Harmony Mobile and the DJI firmware combine to control the DJI drone in an automated mission. There are two launch types: Waypoints and Virtual Stick.
Most missions can be safely flown with any launch type. There are, however, several factors that would favor using one type over another, or even enforce using a certain launch type:
There is a fundamental difference in the way that Drone Harmony handles flight execution in each launch type. While it is only important to understand the behavior of each, it can also be instructive to understand what happens behind the curtains.
Before we speak of the differences, let’s state the commonalities: when you execute a mission in Drone Harmony, regardless of which launch type or capture mode you are using, you start with a waypoint mission, composed of Drone Harmony waypoints. These waypoint encode the desired flight trajectory and the camera actions. When launching you also choose additional parameters, such as flight speed and various actions, such as end-of-mission action.
When launching the mission in the waypoint launch mode, Drone Harmony translates the Drone Harmony waypoints into DJI’s representation of waypoints and uploads the result to the drone. The DJI firmware is then responsible for the physical execution of the mission, namely for following properly the flight path and triggering the camera. Drone Harmony remains in the background monitoring the flight execution.
When launching the mission in virtual stick launch type, Drone Harmony Mobile translates the Drone Harmony waypoint mission directly into RC stick commands (hence the name “virtual stick”). These RC stick commands are sent many times per second to the drone through the RC radio connection. Intuitively, Drone Harmony Mobile is simply emulating in software a human pilot that would try to follow the pre-planned waypoint mission by using the stick commands. As a result, this flight mode requires continuous stable radio connection between the RC and the drone.
A launch type determines how the drone is controlled by Drone Harmony on a low level – what control algorithm is used to move the drone and its payload during flight.
The capture mode, on the other hand, determines higher-level attributes of the mission: what data should be captured (photo/video/nothing), whether the drone should stop at every waypoint etc. While most capture modes are enabled in both waypoint and virtual stick launch types, some capture modes require the use of a specific launch type (see below).
No. Every mission in Drone Harmony is a waypoint mission. The launch type determines how the mission will be flown, no whether it is a waypoint mission or not.
There are, however, kinds of waypoint missions that require the use of a specific launch type (see below). In such cases, the launch dialogue in Drone Harmony Mobile will automatically restrict the choice of launch types to that specific mode.
Each launch type has both advantages and disadvantages. While in some cases the attributes of the mission, or drone, determine the required launch type, in many cases both options are available. It is hence useful to know what properties they have in order to minimize risks and maximize performance in the automated flight. The following are the main advantages of each launch type.
The main advantages and disadvantages of each launch type are listed in the launch dialogue in Drone Harmony Mobile on the appropriate screen, so there is no need to memorize them.
As we mentioned before, certain features of Drone Harmony missions are only enabled in certain launch types. Here is a (potentially non-exhastive) list of such scenarios.
Drone Harmony works hard to ensure the safety of flight execution in any launch type. It is, however, important to keep the following information in mind.
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