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Multi UAV operations - Manual control

Be interested to hear the collective wisdom and experience on this one.

I intend to operate 10 multirotors. The flights will be auto controlled via mav-proxy and a python script. That side of things is fine.

From a safety perspective, particularly during testing, its always good to have some other form of control. I would like to be able to manually take control of a given drone if I need to.

What have others done to enable safer testing of multi vehicle flights?

Some suggestions:

  • start with one vehicle first
  • test every vehicle individually first
  • one RC transmitter per vehicle
  • Do not increase the number of vehicles in the air until you trust the others by 100%

Have done this with up to three ArduPlanes in the air at the same time.

Good luck!!

Thank you for your reply.

Sadly it’s impossible to trust anything 100%

Always good to plan for the worst.

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If you can have ten pilots each with an independent transmitter - that would be the best. But obviously that isn’t doable for most. Even just having ten transmitters - but just two to three pilots that can easily takeover at any point would be useful.

For Part 107 operations, you’d need 1 pilot and TX per multirotor. Make sure each TX and drone are clearly and quickly identifiable. We had a situation with 3 quads indoors where we had to take over, two pilots had the wrong TXs and ended up attempting to control the wrong quad. The landings were not successful.

Starting multi vehicle operations the amount of needed transmitters is one of the lesser problems. The most affordable TX fulfilling al my needs (OpenTX + yaapu telemetry) I can recommend a Taranis X9Lite.

To have a plan B if something goes wrong or the need to avoid crashing the vehicles into each other seems more important to me.

As mentioned by you I can agree a team of (ten) pilots is the safest way.

Hi Chris,

It is good to hear from your experiences. I can confirm the ease of getting confused by the vehicles.

RC radios are not made to held by two in one hand back to back. Manipulating a switch in the wrong direction on the back facing radio led in to a crash of a healthy plane instead of saving a struggling one.
Don’t ask me how I know …

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