7. RPA Configuration
RPA configuration describes options for configuration of RPA.

7.1 General Settings

RPA Configuration -General Setting
This section defines the display units used in the application. After applying these setting, they will be reflected immediately across the application.
  • Distance:
    • Meters
    • Feet
  • Area:
    • Square Meters
    • Square Feet
    • Square Kilometers
    • Hectares
    • Acres
    • Square Miles
  • Speed:
    • Meters/second
    • Feet/second
    • Miles/hour
    • Kilometers/hour
    • Knots
  • Temperature:
    • Celsius
    • Fahrenheit

7.2 Air frame

RPA Configuration -Airframe
The Airframe setting can be done to choose required airframe so that flight controller software can understand and operate accordingly. This is very important setting and must be ensured before flight is taken. It has two types of settings.
a) Frame Class : All the standard classes of airframe supported by Ardupilot and PX4 firmware are displayed here. You need to select on of them and reboot the drone.
b) Frame Type : All the standard frame types of airframe supported by Ardupilot and PX4 firmware are displayed here. You need to select one of them as per drone physical specifications.

7.3 Sensors

RPA Configuration -Sensors
The Sensor Setup section allows you to configure and calibrate the vehicle's compass, gyroscope, accelerometer and pressure.
a) Accelerometer : Under this setting, you can calibrate the accelerometer of the device. Once you click on ‘Calibrate' button you would be asked to hold the vehicle in various orientation.
b) Compass : You need to rotate the vehicle randomly around all axes until the progress bar fills all the way to the right and the calibration completes.
Note: While the vehicle is armed, compass calibration is not possible.
c) Level Horizon : If the horizon is not level after completing accelerometer calibration you can calibrate the level horizon for your vehicle. You will be asked to place and hold your vehicle in level orientations while it captures orientation.
Note: Leveling the horizon is highly recommended for optimal flight performance. If you notice a persistent drift during flying, repeat this procedure.
Level Horizon Calibration is used to compensate for minor misalignments in controller orientation as well as to level the horizon in ground control flyview.
After the orientation is established and the level-horizon calibration is complete, check in the flight view that the heading in the compass is around 0 when you point the vehicle towards the north and that the horizon is level.
d) Pressure : This calibration sets the altitude to zero at the current pressure.

7.4 Safety

Safety section provides various configuration options for RPA safety.
RPA Configuration -Safety
Failsafe means including some mechanism for automatically mitigating the consequences of a potential source of failure. These ensure that if something goes wrong in the pathway, processes are in place to identify:
  1. 1.
    What is going wrong?
  2. 2.
    What action follows to ensure a safe outcome?
Failsafe should be a ‘closed loop’ process. Effective failsafe monitoring necessitates noting the start and end points of essential activities (often via a systematic procedure and/or an IT system), as well as a mechanism to verify that all opened loops are closed within an adequate timeframe.
In the event that vehicle control is lost, Copter has a number of failsafe features in place to aid vehicle recovery and prevent wandering. These are the safety measures and therefore everyone should take utmost care of these failsafe. Failsafe which are to be considered are as follows:

7.4.1 Battery Failsafe

This section sets the Battery Failsafe parameters. You can set low and critical thresholds for voltage and/or remaining capacity and define the action if the failsafe value is breached. The thresholds can be disabled by setting them to zero. Following options are available for configuration.
  • Low action - Select one from
    • None,
    • Land,
    • RTL,
    • SmartRTL,
    • SmartRTL or Land,
    • Terminate.
  • Critical action - Select one from
    • None,
    • Land,
    • RTL,
    • SmartRTL,
    • SmartRTL or Land,
    • Terminate.
  • Low voltage threshold - Battery voltage that triggers the low action.
  • Critical voltage threshold - Battery voltage that triggers the critical action.
  • Low mAh threshold - Battery capacity that triggers the low action.
  • Critical mAh threshold - Battery capacity that triggers the critical action.
Note: The battery failsafe can only be reset if the device is rebooted after it has activated.

7.4.2 Return to Launch

This section sets the RTL Mode behavior. Following configurations are available.
Select RTL return altitude:
  1. 1.
    Return at current altitude - Return at current altitude.
  2. 2.
    Return at specified altitude - Ascend to specified altitude to return if below current altitude.
  3. 3.
    Loiter above home for - Check to set a loiter time before landing. Select any one from the following:
  • Land with descent speed - Select final descent speed.
  • Final loiter altitude - Select and set final altitude for landing after RTL or mission (set to 0 to land).

7.4.3 Geofence

This section sets the parameters for the cylindrical Simple Geofence. You can set whether the fence radius or height are enabled, the maximum values for causing a breach, and the action in the event of a breach. The configuration allows following settings.
RPA Configuration - Geofence Setting
  • Circle GeoFence enabled - Enable the circular geofence.
  • Altitude GeoFence enabled - Enable altitude geofence.
Fence action may be any one from the following:
  • Report only - Report fence breach.
  • RTL or Land - RTL or land on fence breach.
  • Max radius - Circular fence radius that when broken causes RTL.
  • Max altitude Fence maximum altitude to trigger altitude geofence.

7.4.4 Failsafe Trigger

Any failsafe will display a message and prevent arming. The configuration options under this section are:
a) Ground station Failsafe: The Ground Station Control (GCS) failsafe regulates how the Copter reacts if it loses contact with the GCS. When a GCS failsafe is triggered, the copter can be configured via parameters to do nothing, land immediately, RTL, or SmartRTL. It can also be configured to bypass the failsafe in an Auto Mode mission, bypass the failsafe in pilot controlled modes, or to continue landing if already in a landing phase.
Ground Station Failsafe
  • If the copter is disarmed, no failsafe will take place.
  • If the copter is armed but has landed, the copter will immediately disarm.
  • If the copter is armed in Stabilize or Acro modes, and the throttle input is at minimum, the copter will immediately disarm.
  • Otherwise, the copter will take the actions as configured in the parameters described below.
If the failsafe clears the copter will remain in its failsafe mode. It will not automatically return to the flight mode that was active before the failsafe was triggered.
RPA Configuration - Failsafe Setting
b) Throttle Failsafe: You can configure a software failsafe that is activated by setting on the throttle input channel using the throttle failsafe.
Throttle Failsafe
RPA Configuration - Failsafe Setting
RPA Configuration - Failsafe Setting
  • GCS Heartbeat - Select one from Disabled, Warn only, Disarm, Enter depth hold mode, Enter surface mode.
  • Leak - Select one from Disabled, Warn only, Enter surface mode.
  • Detector Pin - Select one from Disabled, Pixhawk Aux (1-6), Pixhawk 3.3ADC(1-2), Pixhawk 6.6ADC.
  • Logic when Dry - Select one from Low, High.
  • Battery – Configure batter options.
  • EKF - Select one from Disabled, Warn only, Disarm.
Based on rate gyroscopes, accelerometer, compass, GPS, airspeed, and barometric pressure measurements, an Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) algorithm is used to estimate vehicle position, velocity, and angular orientation. An EKF also enables measurements from optional sensors such as optical flow and laser range finders to be used to assist navigation.
  • Pilot Input - Select one from Disabled, Warn only, Disarm.
  • Internal Temperature - Select one from Disabled, Warn only.
  • Internal Pressure - Select one from Disabled, Warn only.

7.4.5 Arming Checks

The configuration options under this section are.
RPA Configuration - Arming Checks
Arming Checks to perform (ARMING_CHECK) - Check all appropriate: Barometer, Compass, GPS lock, INS, Parameters, RC Channels, Board voltage, Battery Level, Airspeed, Logging Available, Hardware safety switch, GPS Configuration, System.
Barometer: the barometer sensor is reporting that it is unhealthy which is normally a sign of a hardware failure.
Compass: the compass sensor is reporting that it is unhealthy which is a sign of a hardware failure.
GPS Lock: the GPS is glitching and the vehicle is in a flight mode that requires GPS (i.e. Loiter, PosHold, etc) and/or the cylindrical fence is enabled.
INS: some or all of the accelerometer’s offsets are zero. The accelerometers need to be calibrated. Accels not healthy: one of the accelerometers is reporting it is not healthy which could be a hardware issue. This can also occur immediately after a firmware update before the board has been restarted. The accelerometers are reporting accelerations which are different by at least 1m/s/s.
One of the gyroscopes is reporting it is unhealthy which is likely a hardware issue. This can also occur immediately after a firmware update before the board has been restarted.
Parameter: Auxiliary Function Switches are set to the same option which is not permitted because it could lead to confusion.

Board Voltage checks:

The board’s internal voltage is below 4.3 Volts or above 5.8 Volts. If powered through a USB cable (i.e. while on the bench) this can be caused by the desktop computer being unable to provide sufficient current to the autopilot - try replacing the USB cable. If powered from a battery this is a serious problem and the power system (i.e. Power Module, battery, etc) should be carefully checked before flying.
Battery Level: If a power monitor voltage is below its failsafe low or critical voltages or failsafe remaining capacity low or critical set points, this check will fail and indicate which set point it is below. It will also fail if these set points are inverted, i.e. critical point is higher than low point.
Airspeed: If an airspeed sensor is configured, and it is not providing a reading or failed to calibrate, this check will fail.
Logging pre-armed was enabled but failed to write to the log.
Hardware safety switch: Hardware safety switch has not been pushed.
Note: When any Failsafe is activated and the failsafe action involves a mode change to the vehicle, it remains in that mode until the pilot changes the mode directly.

7.5 Advanced Safety

This section sets the advanced safety i.e. parachute ejection. Under this setting there are parameters like parachute enabled, parachute type, parachute servo ON, parachute servo Off, parachute minimum altitude, parachute delay and parachute critical sink rate. By setting the values advanced safety feature can be used.
RPA Configuration -Advanced Safety

7.6 Flight Modes

RPA Configuration -Flight MoRPA Configuration -des
In Flight Modes (RPA Configuration >Flight Modes), Flight modes are controlled through the radio (via a transmitter switch), or using commands from AeroGCS.
In general, when first starting to use Copter you should progress through the flight modes in the order listed below, being sure that you are comfortable with each before progressing to the next.
Following flight modes:
1. Acro: Acro mode uses the RC sticks to control the angular velocity of the copter in each axis. Release the sticks and the vehicle will maintain its current attitude and will not return to level (attitude hold). Acro mode is useful for aerobatics such as flips or rolls, or FPV when smooth and fast control is desired.
2. Altitude Hold: In altitude hold mode, Copter maintains a consistent altitude while allowing roll, pitch, and yaw to be controlled normally.
3. Air mode: This is not an actual flight mode, but rather, an important feature of ACRO and STABILIZE modes.
4. Auto Mode: In Auto mode the copter will follow a pre-programmed mission script stored in the autopilot which is made up of navigation commands. AUTO mode incorporates the altitude control from AltHold mode and position control from Loiter mode.
5. Brake Mode: This very simple flight mode simply stops the vehicle as soon as possible using the Loiter controller.
6. Circle: Circle will orbit a point located CIRCLE_RADIUS centimeters in front of the vehicle with the nose of the vehicle pointed at the center.
7. Drift Mode: This page provides tips for flying in Drift Mode and methods for tuning your copter to fly optimally in Drift Mode.
8. Flip Mode: Vehicle will flip on its roll or pitch axis depending upon the pilot’s roll and pitch stick position
9. Flow Hold Mode: Flow Hold mode uses an optical flow sensor to hold position without the need for a GPS nor a downward facing Lidar.
10. Follow: When switched into Follow, the vehicle will attempt to follow another vehicle (or anything publishing its position) at a specified offset.
11. Follow me mode: Follow Me mode makes it possible for you to have your copter follow you as you move, using a telemetry radio and a ground station.
12. Guided Mode: Guided mode is a capability of Copter to dynamically guide the copter to a target location wirelessly using a telemetry radio module and ground station application
13. Heli_Autorotate: This flight mode is available for traditional helicopters only. It is currently limited to single rotor helicopters.
14. Land Mode: LAND Mode attempts to bring the copter straight down.
15. Loiter Mode: Loiter Mode automatically attempts to maintain the current location, heading and altitude.
16. PosHold Mode: It is similar to Loiter in that the vehicle maintains a constant location, heading, and altitude but is generally more popular because the pilot stick inputs directly control the vehicle’s lean angle providing a more “natural” feel.
17. Position Mode: Position mode is the same as loiter mode, but with manual throttle control. This means that, in position mode, the copter maintains a consistent location and heading, while allowing the operator to control the throttle manually.
18. RTL Mode: RTL mode (Return to launch mode) navigates Copter from its current position to hover above the home position.
19. Simple and Super simple modes: “Simple” and “Super Simple” modes allow the pilot to control the movement of the copter from the pilot’s point of view regardless of which way the copter is facing.
20. Smart RTL Mode: When switched into Smart RTL, like regular RTL, the vehicle will attempt to return home.
21. Sport Mode: Sport Mode is also known as “rate controlled stabilize” plus Altitude Hold.
22. Stabilize Mode: Stabilize mode allows you to fly your vehicle manually, but self-levels the roll and pitch axis.
23. System Identification mode: This mode is for advanced users and provides a means to generate mathematical models of the vehicles flight behavior for model generation
24. Throw mode: This slightly dangerous flight mode allows the pilot to throw the vehicle into the air (or drop the vehicle) in order to start the motors
25. Zigzag mode: Zigzag mode is a semi-autonomous mode designed to make it easier for a pilot to fly a vehicle back and forth across a field which can be useful for crop spraying.
Flight Mode
PWM Range
Flight Mode 1
0 – 1230
Flight Mode 2
1231 – 2360
Flight Mode 3
1361 – 1490
Flight Mode 4
1491 – 1620
Flight Mode 5
1621 – 1749
Flight Mode 6
1750 +

7.7 RC Calibration

RC Calibration
RPA Configuration -RC Calibration
RPA Configuration -RC Calibration
In RC configuration (RPAConfiguration > RC Config), RC transmitters allow the pilot to set the flight mode, control the vehicle’s movement and orientation and also turn on/off auxiliary functions (i.e. raising and lowering landing gear, etc.).
  • RC Calibration involves capturing each RC input channel’s minimum, maximum and “trim” values so that ArduPilot can correctly interpret the input.
  • Move both sticks in the largest circle possible so that they reach their complete range of motion. Move the Ch 5 and 6 toggle switches through their range of positions.
  • Your transmitter should cause the following control changes:
Channel 1: low = roll left, high = roll right.
Channel 2: low = pitch forward, high=pitch back.
Channel 3: low = throttle down (off), high = throttle up.
Channel 4: low = yaw left, high = yaw right.

7.8 ESC Calibration

RPA Configuration -ESC Calibration
In ESC Calibration (RPA Configuration > ESC Calibration), Electronic Speed Controllers (ESCs) regulate motor speed (and direction) based on the PWM input value from the flight controller (FC). The range of inputs to which an ESC will respond is configurable, and the default range can differ even between ESCs of the same model.
This calibration updates all the ESCs with the maximum and minimum PWM input values that will be supplied by the flight controller. Subsequently all the ESCs/motors will respond to flight controller input in the same way (across the whole input range).

7.9 Motor Test

In this section motor test can be done. There is motor test option for quadcopter and hexacopter device. As per the frame type is set it shows the motor test slider. It will show 4 sliders for a quad and 6 sliders for hexa as shown in picture below:
RPA Configuration -Motor Test

7.10 Power

RPA Configuration -Power
This section allows to you configure power related safety parameters.
Configuration options are as below.
o Battery Monitor – Configure the battery monitoring method.
o Battery Capacity – allows to set the battery maximum in terms of power capacity.
o Minimum Arming Voltage – sets the minimum voltage to start giving alarm about battery.
o Power Sensor – select the power sensors of RPA device.

7.11 Compass

RPA Configuration -Compass
This section allows to you configure compass related parameters.
Configuration options are as below.
o Compass Declination – Set the compass declination value in radian. The minimum value allowed is -3.14 and maximum value allowed is +3.14

7.12 Serial Param

RPA Configuration -Serial Param
RPA Configuration -Serial Param
This section allows to you configure serial interface related parameters.
Configuration options are as below.
o Serial0 to Serial6
o Baud rate : Set the speed of transfer of bits from the serial port.
o Protocol : Set the protocol of transfer of data.

7.13 Flow

RPA Configuration -Flow
RPA Configuration -Flow
This section allows to you configure flow related parameters.
Configuration options are as below.
o Flow Enable
o X axis correction factor
o Y axis correction factor
o Flow sensor yaw alignment
This section allows to you configure landing speed related parameters.

7.14 Land

Configuration options are as below.
RPA Configuration -Land
o Land speed – This is the speed at which the RPA should land on ground.
o Land high speed – This is the maximum high speed at which the RPA should land on ground.
In Land setting (RPAConfiguration > Land), Descent speed for the final stage of landing in cm/s.
Increment
Range
Units
10
30 - 200
centimeters per second
The descent speed for the first stage of landing in cm/s. If this is zero then WPNAV_SPEED_DN is used.
Increment
Range
Units
10
0 - 500
centimeters per second

7.15 Fence

RPA Configuration -Fence
RPA Configuration -Fence
This section allows to you configure fence related parameters.
Configuration options are as below.
1.Fence Type :
o Altitude – This allows to setup altitude fence so that RPA will be within defined altitude.
o Circular – This defines circular type of fence.
o Polygon – This defines polygon type of geo fence
2. Fence Action – This allows you to set action on breach of fence.
3. Fence Enable – This enables or disables fence to monitor and take action on breach of fence. If it is disabled, then RPA will not consider any fence. It is important to enable fence always.
4. Fence maximum Altitude – This is the maximum altitude then RPA should go. If this limit is crossed, then fence action should get activated.
5. Fence Margin – This is the safety margin of fence.
6. Circular Fence Radius – Here you can define maximum radius of a circular fence.
7. Polygon Fence Total Points – Here you can define maximum polygon points a fence should consider.
Maximum altitude allowed before geofence triggers
Increment
Range
Units
1
10 -1000
meters
Circle fence radius which when breached will cause an RTL
Range
Units
30 – 10000
meters
Distance that autopilots should maintain from the fence to avoid a breach

7.16 Camera

The camera must be securely attached to the gimbal, yet in a way that reduces or dampens motor vibrations. Attaining both goals at the same time is difficult!
Soft foam, stiff foam, neoprene tubes (mount camera on tube side), surgical tube, rubber bands, nylon bolt (direct firm attachment), and velcro are all common techniques for attaching the camera on the gimbal.
RPA Configuration -Camera
RPA Configuration -Camera
RPA Configuration -Camera
RPA Configuration -Camera
RPA Configuration - Camera
RPA Configuration -RPA Configuration -Camera
RPA Configuration -Camera
This section allows to you configure camera and gimbal related parameters.
Configuration options are as below.
o Gimbal Tilt
o Gimbal Roll – This allows you to set action on breach of fence.
o Gimbal PAN – This allows you to set action on breach of fence.
o Gimbal General Setting
o Camera Settings
In camera (RPAConfiguration > Camera), ranges are given following.
Gimbal Setting
Min
Max
Units
Gimbal Tilt
Gimbal angle limits
-18000
17999
-18000
17999
Cdeg
Servo PWM limits
500
2200
800
2200
Pwm
Gimbal Roll
Gimbal angle limits
-18000
17999
-18000
17999
Cdeg
Servo PWM limits
500
2200
800
2200
Pwm
Gimbal Pan
Gimbal angle limits
-18000
17999
-18000
17999
Cdeg
Servo PWM limits
500
2200
800
2200
Pwm
Type
Min
Max
Units
Camera servo off
1000
2000
Pwm
Camera servo on
1000
2000
Pwm
Camera trigger distance
0
1000
m
Camera trigger duration
0
50
deciseconds

7.17 Camera Config

RPA Configuration -Camera Config

7.18 Spraying Configurations

This section allows to you configure spraying related parameters such as auxiliary servo functions, minimum, maximum PWM values, RC switch, etc.
RPA Configuration - Spraying
RPA Configuration - Sprayingg
SPRAY_ENABLE: Sprayer enable/disable
Allows you to enable or disable the sprayer
SERVO5 Function
Minimum PWM
Minimum PWM pulse width in microseconds. Typically 1000 is lower limit, 1500 is neutral and 2000 is upper limit.
Maximum PWM
Maximum PWM pulse width in microseconds. Typically 1000 is lower limit, 1500 is neutral and 2000 is upper limit.
SERVO6 Function
Minimum PWM
Minimum PWM pulse width in microseconds. Typically 1000 is lower limit, 1500 is neutral and 2000 is upper limit
Maximum PWM
Maximum PWM pulse width in microseconds. Typically 1000 is lower limit, 1500 is neutral and 2000 is upper limit.
BRD_PWM_COUNT: Auxiliary pin config
Note: This parameter is for advanced users
Controls number of FMU outputs which are setup for PWM. All unassigned pins can be used for GPIO.
Value
Meaning
0
No PWMs
1
One PWMs
2
Two PWMs
3
Three PWMs
4
Four PWMs
5
Five PWMs
6
Six PWMs
7
Seven PWMs
8
Eight PWMs

7.18 Reset Parameters

It will reset all the RPA configuration parameters to default by clicking on 'Reset to default' button.
Reset Parameters to default

7.19 Terrain Setting

This feature allows the vehicle to climb or descend to maintain a specified distance above the terrain using SRTM data (aka terrain altitude data) provided by the GCS using a mapping service such as Google maps. To follow terrain data user, have to enable the parameters such as Enable Terrain and Terrain Follow switch. The Terrain enable parameter enable the terrain functionality and generate the Terrain folder in your Flight controller SD Card. Terrain follow parameter enables the terrain mode in RTL and Land mode. User can also set the radius using in Terrain Radius Text box and this radius is used to download the terrain file. When user enables the Follow Terrain Data switch, the GCS will generate and download the terrain file and that file is automatically get uploaded to the SD Card. The file is stored permanently into SD Card. To follow Terrain Data the Follow Terrain Data switch should be enabled, otherwise it won't follow Terrain functionality. Before enable Follow Terrain Data switch user have to select the location of Drone which used to download the terrain file. By enabling all these parameters, the vehicle will follow Terrain Data functionality.
Terrain Setting

7.20 Advanced Settings

This tab will allow observing the values set for different parameters with details like value, range, option, description, etc., as show below.
Advanced Settings
After observing the values of the parameters set if the user finds some corrections in the values of specific parameters, he can change these values from respective sections. Sometimes few parameters need some changes.