A simple "Follow me" app and device

Hi
I’m thinking of developing an application to implement the “follow me” functionality.
It would run on a raspberry or (arduino) board equipped with a radio to communicate with the drone, and a gps, to obtain positioning information. The device will only have a handful of buttons to control the drone, i.e “follow”, “land” , and may be some others.
I realize that QGroundcontrol can run on a smart phone and do all this and a lot more. I’m also aware that there are applications that use facial/body recognition or IR to follow a target, that can run on PixHawk hardware.
However there might be situations where using a smart phone is not feasible/convenient and a dedicated, simple “follow me” device in a weather proof case might be useful. And facial/body recognition programs may be hampered by weather and lighting.
But I don’t know for sure.
I would appreciate the group’s feedback before embarking on a project of this complexity.
Please be brutally honest
Thanks
Andy

1 Like

Really cool idea. Take a look at http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2423260&pp=50 That uses a gimbal controller and with two way link (wifi/radio modem etc) but still uses mavlink and the person made it work in a watch type of device with built in comms and a GPS. If nothing else, it would be good to look at.

Thank you for the feedback and the link. Much appreciated!

I’d be a supporter of this, if you ever do it please pop me an email, VoidTyphoon@Gmail.com

Regards -Jack

Will do, thanks for the feedback!

Since we use MAVLink as the main interface and have the driver for GPS included the simplest follow-me device would be a low-cost board running PX4. That would give you the minimal maintenance overhead since you really just would need to configure it. Maybe one of the dirt cheap F4 racing boards with GPS?

Sorry for newbie questions, I’m only starting here :slight_smile:
My thinking was to write a standalone app that could run on a variety of hardware, and send GPS coordinates and “follow” commands to any device that runs PX4, via MAVLink.
Are saying that there is a way to configue PX4 software to do just that? If so, could you please elaborate?
Thanks
Andy

I started an issue on this subject a while back:

I’m with Lorenz on this, before moving on to other devices, a stand alone px4 app running on px4 hardware would be the easy way to move forward, at least as a prototype. It will require coding, but you shouldn’t need to ‘re-invent the wheel’ since all the code is already there. You just need to cherry pick what you need to make it work for the px4 code base (the gps driver, and the mavlink module), modify those parts, and shut down everything else. PM me and let me know if you need help getting started, I’m on gitter.

My initial thought was that this would be a standalone device independent of px4 hardware that would run on any hardare with embedded linux, a GPS chip and a radio, and a couple of buttons to start fololw mode and to land. I started to tinker with some code on a ubuntu box with a u-Blox gps dongle and gpsd to read gps data and send position messages to a raspberry runnning px4
Your and and Lorenz’s suggestions make sense - no need to reinvent the wheel,
This could be a build target within px4
I’ll take a closer look at the px 4 code
I do have some questions - will PM you on gitter
Thanks
Andy