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Follow Me Observations 04 (Success & Crash)

Krusty Geeza

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Testing out the Track & Dynamic Follow Me modes of the Parrot Anafi with some success & a crash into a tree!

The Track mode of Follow Me is solid & consistent, however I have never had any good result with the Dynamic mode of the Follow Me feature. It has always been erratic at best.

This morning I was in an open area at a local park, with myself in the centre of the park & trees about 30 metres away from me on either side. As a beginner drone flyer I always fly the Anafi in Film mode, which is supposed to keep things slow & calm.

Whilst testing out the Dynamic Follow Me mode the Anafi suddenly flew into a tree with me being unable to stop it. This took 2 seconds to get from the centre of the park to the tree & I have all of the flying settings turned down to their absolute minimum, so it should be flying slowly, not fast!

This is not an isolated incident for me when using the Dynamic Follow Me mode. I have performed 4 tests using it & they have all ended with me either forcibly stopping it, or the Anafi running into bushes or trees, but being lucky not to do any damage until this morning's flight.

Now I have a broken rear left arm, with it being unable to just be screwed together again as the internal threads have obviously sheered off, so there is now nothing for the screw to bite onto any more & the end of the arm where the motor sits is slightly open too as it's out of alignment.

If you have an Anafi, be very wary of using the Dynamic Follow Me mode, even if you consider 30 metres either side of you to be an adequately open space!

Now to see how good the Parrot Anafi support is for myself, fingers crossed. I have the log files for the flight ready to share with them.

 

Mar

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Oh No!

Man there needs to be parts available from Parrot. It's kind of insane dishing that kind of cash and not being able to repair it. Something Parrot needs to address, we need spare parts.
 

MustangPhil

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I feel sorry for you !
Spare parts are the key to drones flying...

It must not be related but the horizon line is particularly sloped on this video. I did not remark it on your first vids ?
 

Kilrah

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Film and Sport only refers to the response to control sticks in manual mode, not to the intelligent modes. By selecting "Dynamic" you chose the equivalent of "sport" for the Follow me mode, which the manual indeed puts a big bold warning about only using in totally clear spaces.
 

Krusty Geeza

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I fear that won’t be a warranty case considering that dynamic mode is quiet „dynamic“ and parrot also states in the manual to only use it in open fields. :/
I have a feeling that more attention needs to be made of these risks for Parrot to have full indemnity here. A small mention without clarity of explanation for a definition of "completely open and unobstructed areas" is pretty vague. There is no mention of how many metres one needs to leave open around them, 30 metres either side of you is a huge area. There is also no mention of this mode being a Sport mode type. If there had have been I would never have tried it yet, maybe later on when I was fully competent with using it, but not as a beginner.

Oh No!

Man there needs to be parts available from Parrot. It's kind of insane dishing that kind of cash and not being able to repair it. Something Parrot needs to address, we need spare parts.
Yeah, I'm starting my look now.

I feel sorry for you !
Spare parts are the key to drones flying...

It must not be related but the horizon line is particularly sloped on this video. I did not remark it on your first vids ?
It's an optical illusion! The land slopes in quite a few of my video's! The horizons are level & the uprights are upright when I'm aimed straight ahead.

Film and Sport only refers to the response to control sticks in manual mode, not to the intelligent modes. By selecting "Dynamic" you chose the equivalent of "sport" for the Follow me mode, which the manual indeed puts a big bold warning about only using in totally clear spaces.
I never knew that & it's not mentioned in the manual, that Dynamic Follow Me is a Sport mode thing! There are also no parameters shared with exactly what is meant by the term "completely open and unobstructed areas". Is that 100 metres on either side of you, 30 metres, 20 metres, 10 metres? One persons idea will not be another persons perception of this phrase. I, obviously wrongly, assumed that having 30 metres either side of me was completely open enough.
 

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While I agree with you I think it’s also not easy to define „open area“. It all depends on the situation, the target the drone follows, how the target moves and so on. 30 meters may be enough for one situation and 100 to small for another.

When I recorded the video for you about the follow me mode, I also tried dynamic mode and had less than maybe 10 meters space. It worked but I new about the manual warning so I didn’t really move more than 2 meters in this mode and I could see how fast it was going so I stopped it.
 
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Krusty Geeza

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While inagree with you I think it’s also not easy to define „open area“. It all depends on the situation, the target the drone follows, how the target moves and so on. 30 meters may be enough for one situation and 100 to small do another. When I recorded the video for you about the follow me mode, I also tried dynamic mode and had less than maybe 10 meters space. It worked but I new about the manual warning so I didn’t really move more than 2 meters in this mode and I could see how fast it was going so I stopped it.
I noticed that in your video & in my own use a couple of days ago, when I also had to stop it & switch back to Track mode, which was why I thought a space with 30 metres either side might be adequate this morning. Lesson learned, I won't be touching that mode again for a very long time & not until it's absolutely open for a good hundred metres either side, so there's time for me to find the "Stop" button & successfully hit it.
 

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I'm sorry you got a crash. Must honestly admit I have previously thought you are living the life dangerously on behalf of Anafi with your "Follow me" tests, as you generally do not have enough space where you fly.

It is true that there is no film and sports mode when you use "Follow me". If you use "Follow me" on a car, Anafi will follow you as a dog right up to a speed of 40 km/h !!!

Parrot actually warns you against using "Follow me in Dynamic" mode where you can hit something with the following text in the manual page 65: Dynamic (Parrot recommends you only use this option in completely open and unobstructed areas).

Please read the entire section on "Follow me" from page 64 again.

Regards, Leif.
 
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Krusty Geeza

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I'm sorry you got a crash. Must honestly admit I have previously thought you are living the life dangerously on behalf of Anafi with your "Follow me" tests, as you generally do not have enough space where you fly.

It is true that there is no film and sports mode when you use "Follow me". If you use "Follow me" on a car, Anafi will follow you as a dog right up to a speed of 40 km/h !!!

Parrot actually warns you against using "Follow me in Dynamic" mode where you can hit something with the following text in the manual page 65: Dynamic (Parrot recommends you only use this option in completely open and unobstructed areas).

Please read the entire section on "Follow me" from page 64 again.

Regards, Leif.
I have read it a few times since the crash this morning, Leif. It's vague to use that terminology, my interpretation was that 30 metres either side of me was "completely open". It obviously wasn't open enough!
 
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Kilrah

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"Completely open" is pretty clear to me - means that at the height you're flying there is nothing the aircraft could hit anywhere inside your LOS range.

"Dynamic" is also self-explanatory as being more... well, dynamic than the normal one. It's going to swing more, go faster, go further, close in more dramatically etc...
 

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Anafi does 50km/h, that means covering the entire distance of 30 meters will take just two seconds. Each 15 meters will give you 1 second of reaction time to decide and intervene.

With this mode especially, you’re depending on the wifi signal to be stable between you and the drone, the gps lock to remain accurate and not bounce around at all on both your drone and your phone, which is probably using a lesser gps-a chip, while both objects are moving around, in relation to each other, sources of interference, and the satellites telling you both where you are.

There are a lot of ways it can go just a little wrong that will eat into that two second buffer, especially since you’re probably planning to move around in the space itself - how much would you hesitate when the drone flies into that 30 meter edge, if it goes halfway, do you drag it back right away, or wait a second to see if it stops?
 
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Krusty Geeza

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"Completely open" is pretty clear to me - means that at the height you're flying there is nothing the aircraft could hit anywhere inside your LOS range.

"Dynamic" is also self-explanatory as being more... well, dynamic than the normal one. It's going to swing more, go faster, go further, close in more dramatically etc...
I'm glad it is so obvious to you. It obviously wasn't to me. As my line of sight in regards to the Anafi can be up to 1.5 Km's away, do you mean that I need to be in an area that is clear for that distance?

The term "Dynamic" does not connote an increase in speed at all. Movement, & unique movement at that, yes, but definitely not an increase in speed.
The definition of "Dynamic" is:
characterized by constant change, activity, or progress.
There is no suggestion or inference of a change of speed there. The suggestion of change is there.
 

Krusty Geeza

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Anafi does 50km/h, that means covering the entire distance of 30 meters will take just two seconds. Each 15 meters will give you 1 second of reaction time to decide and intervene.

With this mode especially, you’re depending on the wifi signal to be stable between you and the drone, the gps lock to remain accurate and not bounce around at all on both your drone and your phone, which is probably using a lesser gps-a chip, while both objects are moving around, in relation to each other, sources of interference, and the satellites telling you both where you are.

There are a lot of ways it can go just a little wrong that will eat into that two second buffer, especially since you’re probably planning to move around in the space itself - how much would you hesitate when the drone flies into that 30 meter edge, if it goes halfway, do you drag it back right away, or wait a second to see if it stops?
Unfortunately the Anafi did not respond to my slamming the right (steering) stick hard to the right (as the Anafi was facing toward me at the time). I think it just had too much inertia to slow down in time.

As I have said above, lesson learned, I will not use this feature of the Anafi until I am much more adept at using it & when in an area that is open for hundreds of metres in all directions. The only place I can even remotely think of right now is out in the country, where it is without trees, buildings, or any poles to potentially hit.
 

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Krusty Geeza
Sorry about the crash but I do agree you have been flying a dangerous line with that Anafi. I have watched all you videos and thought that at some time that man is going to crash. I believe you are expecting way to much out of a UAV that does not have obstacle avoidance. Even then if it did have it small tree branches sometimes do not always get picked up by it. From your video I can say you where flying in close quarters to trees and such. In the area you where flying I would have been above the tree line for a safe flight. I'm sure you thought it was all good but you now know better and thats called experience. Sorry it cost you a broken Anafi to get that experience.
Somehow I do not think Parrot will cover your crash but you never know till you try.
Good luck

Hopefully we will start to see spare parts soon.
 

Krusty Geeza

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Krusty Geeza
Sorry about the crash but I do agree you have been flying a dangerous line with that Anafi. I have watched all you videos and thought that at some time that man is going to crash. I believe you are expecting way to much out of a UAV that does not have obstacle avoidance. Even then if it did have it small tree branches sometimes do not always get picked up by it. From your video I can say you where flying in close quarters to trees and such. In the area you where flying I would have been above the tree line for a safe flight. I'm sure you thought it was all good but you now know better and thats called experience. Sorry it cost you a broken Anafi to get that experience.
Somehow I do not think Parrot will cover your crash but you never know till you try.
Good luck

Hopefully we will start to see spare parts soon.
Thanks for the respectful response @Agustine ; without being condescending or judgemental at all. That's appreciated very much by me.

I am surprised that nobody here bothered to share with me (a newbie or rookie to drone flying) that I was using the Anafi in too close a confines, when several people have mentioned that they thought that in this thread! If I saw a rookie experimenting like this & had the knowledge that something bad could occur, I would have let them know that, without being judgemental about it, they are a rookie after all & just starting to learn. But, the philosophy & culture of helping others like that is disappearing these days, even sadly amongst the older more knowledgeable members. It seems to be more of a thing of, I had to learn the hard way, so should you too.

I don't expect the Anafi to protect itself from impact at all, but seeing it flying erratically, like an angry wasp a few times now & sharing that on video, you would think somebody may have shared a little tiny bit of their knowledge as to why it was doing that upon seeing it. I now understand what was going on there, it was because it was in the Dynamic Follow Me mode & trying to seek me out at one of the last recognised locations. I thought, as a rookie with no further knowledge that it was having a brainfart! I now know otherwise, lesson learnt.

Maybe I should be more concise when seeking assistance & actually state that I am asking for assistance or feedback in communications here? I understand that there is no obligation for anyone to share their knowledge, but it sure is nice when it happens as that creates a special community, rather than an elitist attitude with rookies not welcome as a part of that.

The only place I can find spares at this point is the site linked to in another thread here, where it's US $80 + postage for a rear left leg/arm, from what I suspect are cheaply bought Anafi's that are bought with the sole purpose of breaking down for parts & have never actually been flown! There's a good markup there if someone else wanted to do that too! I'll wait for the end of the month as you mentioned elsewhere on the forum for spare parts to start being released by Parrot. Fingers crossed.

Thanks again from a Krusty Geeza for not being a judgemental old fart, @Agustine !
 

Krusty Geeza

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It looks to me like the drone or phone's GPS jumped momentarily. As the drone flew into the tree it still turned to keep you in frame, so this isn't a normal software crash. It was still optically tracking you.

Being framed in by those trees only appears to give you about a 60 degree view of the sky. That's not good enough for a solid GPS lock. A good lock requires as close to a 180 degree sky view (as close to the horizon as possible).
@Flipper that's the first time I have ever heard that mentioned anywhere about requiring a good 180 degree access to uninhibited sky for GPS to work adequately! That's really invaluable knowledge to have shared with us all. I'm sure there are other rookies reading this thread & many others, but without the confidence to jump in yet & comment or ask things they need to.

It's a bit over 90 degrees of visibility to the sky here, more as you get elevated, but definitely not the 180 you suggest. I shall keep this in mind when using any automated features of the Anafi. I suspect that the greater majority of my efforts are going to be manually operated though.

Thanks again for your assistance, it's appreciated a lot.
 

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the philosophy & culture of helping others like that is disappearing these days, even sadly amongst the older more knowledgeable members. It seems to be more of a thing of, I had to learn the hard way, so should you too.
No it's the exact opposite, the reason people stop commenting is becasue most rookies nowadays act as know-it-alls and don't accept critique, and after a few times people get fed up of being thrown out when they want to help.
I have not watched your prior videos.

but seeing it flying erratically, like an angry wasp a few times now & sharing that on video, you would think somebody may have shared a little tiny bit of their knowledge as to why it was doing that upon seeing it.
Nobody can guess when they don't know the conditions.
But then if you have the feeling the thing is flying erratically does it not give a hint that you'd probably want to be extra cautious and going in a tight place where 1 second of erratic behavior will cause a crash isn't the wisest thing to do?

With these things the most important is not to to learn the functions, but to see the big picture. Figuring out something like the above by yourself is critical to safety.
 
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Krusty Geeza

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No it's the exact opposite, the reason people stop commenting is becasue most rookies nowadays act as know-it-alls and don't accept critique, and after a few times people get fed up of being thrown out when they want to help.
I have not watched your prior videos.


Nobody can guess when they don't know the conditions.
I hadn't thought about it from that perspective before. I have a thick skin & share my explorations in the hope of getting even just the odd tid-bit of knowledge shared from those with much more experience, or those like me that are learning, but are willing to share their knowledge. I was raised this way & I still choose to live this way at 50 years of age, it will be with me for life, I'm afraid.

But then if you have the feeling the thing is flying erratically does it not give a hint that you'd probably want to be extra cautious and going in a tight place where 1 second of erratic behavior will cause a crash isn't the wisest thing to do?

With these things the most important is not to to learn the functions, but to see the big picture. Figuring out something like the above by yourself is critical to safety.
This is exactly why I went from the local park to a much larger space that was 60 metres across. I was doing exactly what you said, being extra cautious about it & moving to a much bigger space to try it out. That I did not have the full picture yet of just how much space was required is a part of the learning process of figuring it out.

I see from your Avatar that you fly RC planes, yes? You would therefore presumably have a much bigger perspective & overview of the sort of space required to safely test this sort of thing out. I wrongly assumed that a 60 metre wide space would be adequate. I have already said that, but for you to continuously tell me off for it in a condescending manner is not really appreciated or helpful here. I have repeatedly said that I have learnt that this was not an adequate space to test this feature out, there's no reason or benefit to you repeating that I'm clearly in the wrong.

I am not being a snowflake or overly sensitive about this, maybe this is just a generational or cultural difference between us, but can you see how doing this repeatedly when the mistake has already been admitted is not really helpful at all? Sharing your insight & knowledge (without judgement) is helpful however & if you are willing to do that, I would be ever so grateful as I have a hunch that you are probably a gem full of knowledge that just needs to know that you can share it safely with people.

In regards of my photography & the advocacy work I do I have learnt much on forums just like this where people have freely shared their knowledge with each other. With me, I appreciate all the genuine sharing of knowledge that is offered, especially when given as constructive criticism. Constructive criticism shares what could be improved upon in a way that is not judgemental. For this particular scenario you could have chosen to word it something like this perhaps, which would have been very helpful & avoids me feeling like you are being condescending to me:
When in the Dynamic Follow Me mode, the Anafi is responding a lot quicker than in manually operated modes it is the same as being in Sport mode, as a result, you need to be in an extremely open field or well above any potential obstacles where the Anafi's full speed of 50 k/ph can be taken into account if needed.
Can you see how that's a much more pleasant way to communicate a warning to somebody else?

Hoping that you & I can move beyond this, as I really do feel that you are one that has a lot to share here in this forum, if you're up for it. :)
 

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Good luck with the repair mate. Reading this - a crap start to the day :(

I've been flying models for ever (since I'm really old) so I've been testing functions out at out model aircraft field - HMAC

It's amazing how often models find that one tree - or the out-house lol

I've already had to duck a couple of times when I commanded my Anafi to go somewhere... but my head was in the way! This is my first gps drone (I've designed and built 27 multi-engine machines in the last 7 years) and I still find it hard not looking at the drone... but looking at the screen. My trust is slowly building up (that's when I'll break it!)
 
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