GUIDED mode is the recommended mode for flying Copter autonomously without a predefined a mission. It allows a Ground Control Station (GCS) or Companion Computer to control the vehicle “on the fly” and react to new events or situations as they occur.
This topic explains how you can control vehicle movement, and also how to send MAVLink commands to control vehicle orientation, region of interest, servos and other hardware. We also list a few functions that are useful for converting location and bearings from a global into a local frame of reference.
Most of the code can be observed running in Example: Guided Mode Movement and Commands (Copter).
This topic is Copter specific. Plane apps typically use AUTO mode and dynamically modify missions as needed (Plane supports GUIDED mode but it is less full featured than on Copter).
Changing to a new movement method is treated as a “mode change”. If you’ve set a yaw or region-of-interest value then this will be set to the default (vehicle faces the direction of travel).
Controlling the vehicle by explicitly setting the target position is useful when the final position is known/fixed.
The method is used as shown below:
# Set mode to guided - this is optional as the goto method will change the mode if needed. vehicle.mode = VehicleMode("GUIDED") # Set the target location in global-relative frame a_location = LocationGlobalRelative(-34.364114, 149.166022, 30) vehicle.simple_goto(a_location)
Vehicle.simple_goto() can be interrupted by a later command, and does not provide any functionality
to indicate when the vehicle has reached its destination. Developers can use either a time delay or
measure proximity to the target to give the vehicle an
opportunity to reach its destination. The Example: Guided Mode Movement and Commands (Copter) shows both approaches.
You can optionally set the target movement speed using the function’s
(this is equivalent to setting
Vehicle.groundspeed). The speed setting will then be used
for all positional movement commands until it is set to another value.
# Set airspeed using attribute vehicle.airspeed = 5 #m/s # Set groundspeed using attribute vehicle.groundspeed = 7.5 #m/s # Set groundspeed using `simple_goto()` parameter vehicle.simple_goto(a_location, groundspeed=10)
Vehicle.simple_goto() will use the last speed value set. If both speed values are set at the
same time the resulting behaviour will be vehicle dependent.
You can also set the position by sending the MAVLink commands
type_mask bitmask that enables the position parameters. The main difference between these commands is
that the former allows you to specify the location relative to the “global” frames (like
Vehicle.simple_goto()), while the later lets you specify the location in NED co-ordinates relative
to the home location or the vehicle itself. For more information on these options see the example code:
goto_position_target_global_int() and goto_position_target_local_ned().
Controlling vehicle movement using velocity is much smoother than using position when there are likely to be many updates (for example when tracking moving objects).
send_ned_velocity() below generates a
SET_POSITION_TARGET_LOCAL_NED MAVLink message
which is used to directly specify the speed components of the vehicle in the
frame (relative to home location). The message is re-sent every second for the specified duration.
From Copter 3.3 the vehicle will stop moving if a new message is not received in approximately 3 seconds. Prior to Copter 3.3 the message only needs to be sent once, and the velocity remains active until the next movement command is received. The example code works for both cases!
def send_ned_velocity(velocity_x, velocity_y, velocity_z, duration): """ Move vehicle in direction based on specified velocity vectors. """ msg = vehicle.message_factory.set_position_target_local_ned_encode( 0, # time_boot_ms (not used) 0, 0, # target system, target component mavutil.mavlink.MAV_FRAME_LOCAL_NED, # frame 0b0000111111000111, # type_mask (only speeds enabled) 0, 0, 0, # x, y, z positions (not used) velocity_x, velocity_y, velocity_z, # x, y, z velocity in m/s 0, 0, 0, # x, y, z acceleration (not supported yet, ignored in GCS_Mavlink) 0, 0) # yaw, yaw_rate (not supported yet, ignored in GCS_Mavlink) # send command to vehicle on 1 Hz cycle for x in range(0,duration): vehicle.send_mavlink(msg) time.sleep(1)
type_mask parameter is a bitmask that indicates which of the other parameters in the message are used/ignored by the vehicle
(0 means that the dimension is enabled, 1 means ignored). In the example the value 0b0000111111000111
is used to enable the velocity components.
MAV_FRAME_LOCAL_NED the speed components
velocity_y are parallel to the North and East
directions (not to the front and side of the vehicle).
velocity_z component is perpendicular to the plane of
velocity_y, with a positive value towards the ground, following
the right-hand convention. For more information about the
MAV_FRAME_LOCAL_NED frame of reference, see this wikipedia article
From Copter 3.3 you can specify other frames,
MAV_FRAME_BODY_OFFSET_NED makes the velocity components relative to the current vehicle heading.
In Copter 3.2.1 (and earlier) the frame setting is ignored (
MAV_FRAME_LOCAL_NED is always used).
The code fragment below shows how to call this method:
# Set up velocity mappings # velocity_x > 0 => fly North # velocity_x < 0 => fly South # velocity_y > 0 => fly East # velocity_y < 0 => fly West # velocity_z < 0 => ascend # velocity_z > 0 => descend SOUTH=-2 UP=-0.5 #NOTE: up is negative! #Fly south and up. send_ned_velocity(SOUTH,0,UP,DURATION)
When moving the vehicle you can send separate commands to control the yaw (and other behaviour).
ArduPilot does not currently support controlling the vehicle by specifying acceleration/force components.
This section explains how to send MAVLink commands, what commands can be sent, and lists a number of real examples you can use in your own code.
Vehicles support a subset of the messages defined in the MAVLink standard. For more information about the supported sets see wiki topics: Copter Commands in Guided Mode and Plane Commands in Guided Mode.
message_factory() uses a factory method for the encoding. The name of this method will always be the
lower case version of the message/command name with
_encode appended. For example, to encode a
message we call
message_factory.set_position_target_local_ned_encode() with values for all the
message fields as arguments:
msg = vehicle.message_factory.set_position_target_local_ned_encode( 0, # time_boot_ms (not used) 0, 0, # target_system, target_component mavutil.mavlink.MAV_FRAME_BODY_NED, # frame 0b0000111111000111, # type_mask (only speeds enabled) 0, 0, 0, # x, y, z positions velocity_x, velocity_y, velocity_z, # x, y, z velocity in m/s 0, 0, 0, # x, y, z acceleration (not supported yet, ignored in GCS_Mavlink) 0, 0) # yaw, yaw_rate (not supported yet, ignored in GCS_Mavlink) # send command to vehicle vehicle.send_mavlink(msg)
If a message includes
target_system id you can set it to zero (DroneKit will automatically
update the value with the correct ID for the connected vehicle). Similarly CRC fields and sequence numbers
(if defined in the message type) can be set to zero as they are automatically updated by DroneKit.
target_component is not updated by DroneKit, but should be set to 0 (broadcast) unless the message is
really intended for a specific component.
In Copter, the COMMAND_LONG message can be used send/package
a number of different supported MAV_CMD commands.
The factory function is again the lower case message name with suffix
The message parameters include the actual command to be sent (in the code fragment below
MAV_CMD_CONDITION_YAW) and its fields.
msg = vehicle.message_factory.command_long_encode( 0, 0, # target_system, target_component mavutil.mavlink.MAV_CMD_CONDITION_YAW, #command 0, #confirmation heading, # param 1, yaw in degrees 0, # param 2, yaw speed deg/s 1, # param 3, direction -1 ccw, 1 cw is_relative, # param 4, relative offset 1, absolute angle 0 0, 0, 0) # param 5 ~ 7 not used # send command to vehicle vehicle.send_mavlink(msg)
Copter Commands in Guided Mode lists all the commands that can be sent to Copter in GUIDED mode (in fact most of the commands can be sent in any mode!)
DroneKit-Python provides a friendly Python API that abstracts many of the commands. Where possible you should use the API rather than send messages directly> For example, use:
Vehicle.simple_takeoff() instead of the
Some of the MAV_CMD commands that you might want to send include:
These would be sent in a
COMMAND_LONG message as discussed above.
The vehicle “yaw” is the direction that the vehicle is facing in the horizontal plane. On Copter this yaw need not be the direction of travel (though it is by default).
You can set the yaw direction using the MAV_CMD_CONDITION_YAW command, encoded in a
COMMAND_LONG message as shown below.
def condition_yaw(heading, relative=False): if relative: is_relative=1 #yaw relative to direction of travel else: is_relative=0 #yaw is an absolute angle # create the CONDITION_YAW command using command_long_encode() msg = vehicle.message_factory.command_long_encode( 0, 0, # target system, target component mavutil.mavlink.MAV_CMD_CONDITION_YAW, #command 0, #confirmation heading, # param 1, yaw in degrees 0, # param 2, yaw speed deg/s 1, # param 3, direction -1 ccw, 1 cw is_relative, # param 4, relative offset 1, absolute angle 0 0, 0, 0) # param 5 ~ 7 not used # send command to vehicle vehicle.send_mavlink(msg)
The command allows you to specify that whether the heading is an absolute angle in degrees (0 degrees is North) or a value that is relative to the previously set heading.
def set_roi(location): # create the MAV_CMD_DO_SET_ROI command msg = vehicle.message_factory.command_long_encode( 0, 0, # target system, target component mavutil.mavlink.MAV_CMD_DO_SET_ROI, #command 0, #confirmation 0, 0, 0, 0, #params 1-4 location.lat, location.lon, location.alt ) # send command to vehicle vehicle.send_mavlink(msg)
New in version Copter: 3.2.1. You can explicitly reset the ROI by sending the MAV_CMD_DO_SET_ROI command with zero in all parameters. The front of the vehicle will then follow the direction of travel.
The ROI (and yaw) is also reset when the mode, or the command used to control movement, is changed.
ArduPilot typically sends a command acknowledgement indicating whether a command was received, and whether it was accepted or rejected. At time of writing there is no way to intercept this acknowledgement in the API (#168).
Some MAVLink messages request information from the autopilot, and expect the result to be returned in another message. Provided the message is handled by the AutoPilot in GUIDED mode you can send the request and process the response by creating a message listener.
The functions in this section help convert between different frames-of-reference. In particular they make it easier to navigate in terms of “metres from the current position” when using commands that take absolute positions in decimal degrees.
The methods are approximations only, and may be less accurate over longer distances, and when close to the Earth’s poles.
def get_location_metres(original_location, dNorth, dEast): """ Returns a LocationGlobal object containing the latitude/longitude `dNorth` and `dEast` metres from the specified `original_location`. The returned LocationGlobal has the same `alt` value as `original_location`. The function is useful when you want to move the vehicle around specifying locations relative to the current vehicle position. The algorithm is relatively accurate over small distances (10m within 1km) except close to the poles. For more information see: http://gis.stackexchange.com/questions/2951/algorithm-for-offsetting-a-latitude-longitude-by-some-amount-of-meters """ earth_radius=6378137.0 #Radius of "spherical" earth #Coordinate offsets in radians dLat = dNorth/earth_radius dLon = dEast/(earth_radius*math.cos(math.pi*original_location.lat/180)) #New position in decimal degrees newlat = original_location.lat + (dLat * 180/math.pi) newlon = original_location.lon + (dLon * 180/math.pi) if type(original_location) is LocationGlobal: targetlocation=LocationGlobal(newlat, newlon,original_location.alt) elif type(original_location) is LocationGlobalRelative: targetlocation=LocationGlobalRelative(newlat, newlon,original_location.alt) else: raise Exception("Invalid Location object passed") return targetlocation;
def get_distance_metres(aLocation1, aLocation2): """ Returns the ground distance in metres between two `LocationGlobal` or `LocationGlobalRelative` objects. This method is an approximation, and will not be accurate over large distances and close to the earth's poles. It comes from the ArduPilot test code: https://github.com/diydrones/ardupilot/blob/master/Tools/autotest/common.py """ dlat = aLocation2.lat - aLocation1.lat dlong = aLocation2.lon - aLocation1.lon return math.sqrt((dlat*dlat) + (dlong*dlong)) * 1.113195e5
def get_bearing(aLocation1, aLocation2): """ Returns the bearing between the two LocationGlobal objects passed as parameters. This method is an approximation, and may not be accurate over large distances and close to the earth's poles. It comes from the ArduPilot test code: https://github.com/diydrones/ardupilot/blob/master/Tools/autotest/common.py """ off_x = aLocation2.lon - aLocation1.lon off_y = aLocation2.lat - aLocation1.lat bearing = 90.00 + math.atan2(-off_y, off_x) * 57.2957795 if bearing < 0: bearing += 360.00 return bearing;
The common.py file in the ArduPilot test code may have other functions that you will find useful.