New app lets Mavic 2 take off automatically and land on sailing ship
Singapore-based company Volarious has developed an app designed to facilitate launching and landing on sailing ships. Thanks to the V-Line Boat Mode, a DJI Mavic 2 drone can not only take off and land automatically, but also automatically track the ship while sailing. Also, the system compensates for swell due to wave stroke during landing. The app was developed for use in combination with Volarious’s cable drone system, but can also be used stand-alone.
Many patrol boats have little room on deck for launching and landing drones. This brings with it the necessary challenges for inexperienced pilots, as one wrong movement can mean that the drone falls into the water. The alternative is to catch the drone by hand as soon as it is near the ship, but that is also not without risk. Especially with heavy swell, a ‘hand catch’ is not recommended.
Another disadvantage that moving a ship entails is that regular cable drone systems cannot be used. With such a system, the power is supplied via a cable (‘tether’) from a ground station. The advantage is that the flight time in this way is basically unlimited; the disadvantage of a cable drone system is that the ground station cannot be moved or difficult as long as the drone is in the air. As a result, cable drones are difficult to use from, for example, patrol boats.
V-Line Boat Mode
The new V-Line Boat Mode in the Volarious app should change this. It concerns software that matches the movements of the drone to that of the boat. The system can be used both with the V-line cable drone system and independently, i.e. with a free-flying drone.
“We built the V-Line Boat Mode with the aim to keep the whole process fully automate, from take-off to landing,” says Weiliang Zhang, founder of Volarious. “This innovation allows users to expand their operational capacity, for example during patrols in port areas and inland waterways.”
Landing path and app
To make use of the automated feature, users need a dedicated landing path and the Volarious app. At the click of a button, the drone rises, and then automatically follows the ship. As a result, it is possible to monitor the environment from a great height while the ship continues. The system was developed for use in combination with the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced, which, in addition to an optical zoom camera, also includes a thermal imager.
During the landing, advanced algorithms accompany the Mavic 2 to land accurately back on the ship. In doing so, the drift and fluctuating movements of the vessel are automatically compensated. The system can be operated from the cabin.
The new app can also be used in combination with the V-Line cable drone system. Volarious further emphasizes the possibility of allowing the drone to stream high-quality live video images via 5G, in order to allow other parties to watch during a patrol sailing.