What is a Vehicle mission?
The Vehicle mission enables authorized pilots to take off and control their drone from a moving vehicle (for example a platform-van or a boat), then to land it back safely on the moving vehicle (up to a 25 km/h or 17.5 mph speed).
- Vehicle missions consume more energy: increase the safety margins on your battery readings – if you normally land with batteries at 20 %, aim for 30 %.
- Set up ANAFI Ai for take-off in the direction of the moving platform motion.
- This feature requires a double GPS fix (drone and device) to be activated.
- Parrot recommends initiating Vehicle mission flights from a distinctive take-off platform such as a black and white landing pad. You can download and print, with a minimum size of 70cm x 70cm, the Parrot landing pad available here.
From take-off, ANAFI Ai synchronizes its speed and trajectory to that of the vehicle, tracking and following it. The pilot retains control of the flight of the drone, relative to the vehicle’s reference.
In other words, the drone follows the vehicle by default, even when the command is activated. However, you keep control of the precise trajectory of ANAFI Ai, of its direction, and thus of the framing of the camera.
When you are following a vehicle, a link appears between your drone and the vehicle to symbolize the “tracking mission”.
During a Vehicle mission, activating the RTH command initiates a return sequence toward the vehicle (“Returning to vehicle”). The following sections describe all phases of Vehicle missions.
1. Set up ANAFI Ai in the direction of the movement of the vehicle.
2. Check your operating area provides GPS synchronization for both the drone and the controller.
3. Stabilize the speed of the vehicle under 25 km/h (15.5 mph).
4. Activate the Vehicle mission from the “MISSIONS” icon on the bottom left of the FreeFlight 7 screen.
5. Stabilize the direction of the vehicle: if possible, take off from a straight stretch of a road. Take-off complete, RTH position set
6. Activate the Take-off button: ANAFI Ai takes off, stabilizes 5 m above its take -off point, tracks and follows the vehicle.
7. From now on, you will not be able to exit the Vehicle mission before you have landed the drone – refer to the next sections of this guide for additional details.
8. You have control over the trajectory and framing of the drone, relative to the referential of the motion of the vehicle in which you travel with the Skycontroller 4.
Vehicle navigation safety
Always activate and monitor Vehicle missions with great care: it is easy to get disoriented when controlling a moving vector from another moving vector.
Remember that when the tracking is active, the default behavior of ANAFI Ai is to track and follow the vehicle: it will not hover in the absence of pilot commands.
Always check your flight plan and the trajectory of your vehicle are clear from obstacles and safe, always retain visual contact with ANAFI Ai, and always be ready to suspend the tracking and make the drone hover (tap the square “STOP” button on the bottom right corner of the FreeFlight 7 screen, as in the screenshot below).
When the tracking is suspended during a Vehicle mission, the behavior of the drone is that of the Piloting mission.
Tap the green “PLAY” button, as seen in the last screenshot, to restore tracking.
Returning to vehicle
The Returning to vehicle (RTV) feature brings ANAFI Ai back to the vehicle from which it took off, and which hosts the Skycontroller 4.
Smart rules associated with RTH features of ANAFI Ai (low battery, ecosystem link loss) are also valid for RTV. The RTV procedure can be decomposed in three steps. When an RTV is activated:
1. ANAFI Ai accelerates toward the tracked vehicle, moving upward to reach the minimum RTH altitude, if it was flying below it – refer to the “ADVANCED SETTINGS / RTH” section of this guide for details on RTH settings.
Vehicle landing safety
- Landing a drone on a moving vehicle is a technical gesture, which requires training and focus. Landing is always one of the most sensitive parts of a flight and performing it in motion makes it even more crucial.
- Always monitor each stage of the Returning to vehicle and Landing sequences carefully, even if you have selected the “Landing” ending for Vehicle missions: always be ready to reclaim control of the drone at any stage of the flight.
- Vehicle landings consume more energy: increase the safety margins on your battery readings – if you normally land with batteries at 20 %, aim for 30 %.
The landing sequence of a Vehicle mission implies the activation of a “landing zone search” by ANAFI Ai. This search can:
- occur automatically after an RTV, if you have selected the “Landing” ending from the Advanced RTH settings;
- occur by pilot action on the take-off button when the drone is at a maximum distance of 30 m from the vehicle. The drone descends to 8 m high before starting the search.
- If the vehicle is moving and the landing zone cannot be acquired after 8 seconds, the drone automatically lands at a reduced speed. FreeFlight 7 will prompt you to adjust the drone’s position.
- If the vehicle is stopped, the drone keeps descending while searching for the landing zone. If the landing zone cannot be acquired, FreeFlight 7 prompts you to adjust the drone’s position and the drone lands while tracking the vehicle position.
When the landing zone has been acquired, the top center of the screen displays a “Precise landing” notification.
This is ANAFI Ai’s final approach signal: from there it descends steadily, around 1 m/s, from 8 m height to its landing point.
- Stabilize the direction of your vehicle, and steady its speed under 25 km/h (15.5 mph).
Until ANAFI Ai has safely landed, the Vehicle landing can be aborted by reclaiming the thrust commands and making the drone climb, if any issue arises (GPS loss, bump on the road, wind gusts, water too choppy, etc.).
- Always monitor and control Vehicle mission landings with care and do not hesitate in briefly stopping the vehicle to perform a safer landing if you feel unsure about motion landing conditions.