Smart RTL ArduCopter Demo Video

This afternoon, I decided to really test ArduCopter’s new Smart RTL mode. Smart RTL was added to master 3.6-dev as part of a Google Summer of Code project over the summer of 2017. It was added as a failsafe option in January 2018. Smart RTL tracks the copter’s course of flight, to include position and altitude. It will prune out unnecessary circles and loops, to continuously form a clean and efficient path home over a known course. So if your course of flight was around and over obstacles, Smart RTL will follow that path home, avoiding those same obstacles. But it will do so without flying in unnecessary circles and loops.

In the video, I hand fly the copter down the road between light poles at low altitude, then out into the field, up and over some trees, and back down into another field. I fly several random loops around the field to make a wacky course of circles that you wouldn’t want to follow home. Then I engage Smart RTL, which prunes that course to a nice clean path home through known points. It climbs up and over the trees, back down to the road, and right up the road between the light poles. It even nails the curve in the end if the road, landing right where it took off from.

Some portions of the video are sped up to 1.5x to 2x speed just to move things along. The RTL speed for this demo was set for about 11 mph. And my hand flying speed was probably 15-20mph.

Firmware: ArduCopter 3.6-Dev
Equipment: 3DR Solo with a Pixhawk 2.1 running Open Solo 3.0.0
Video: GoPro H4B, 2.7K, 60FPS, ND8 Filter (too dark…)


This is a really excellent video. That’s definitely going on the wiki!


Hey, that is really a cool feature! Can’t wait to have weather (Deutschland) to try this out and have fun with that :slight_smile:Thank you for sharing. And yes, it is worth to be added to the WIKI .
Big ‘thank you’ to the DEV’s :clap::clap::clap:

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COOL! makes me want to drag out my Solo and play!:grinning:

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I like that smile on your face at the end! Pretty amazing result with Smart RTL.

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LOL. I was really happy the end worked like that. I intentionally took off and did that little turn at the end of the road hoping it would replicate that, swooping in to a low approach and landing on the way back.

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Haven’t been able to get this to work. Upgraded to 3.6 on the board. Hand flying, automated flying, every time I hit the RTL switch it comes straight home in normal RTL mode. Read the wiki and configured FS_GCS/THR to 4 as described. Any idea which step I’m missing?

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You need to setup SRTL rather than RTL.
Both are available but they are different flight modes.

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Been out of this platform for years and happy to say I’m getting back into it now.

Setting SRTL as a flight mode: is this done rc-remote side? I don’t see SRTL option in the flight mode drop-downs in mission planner.

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Excellent video, great demonstration. Also really enjoyed the scenery, especially the wildlife.

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From APM Planner
And can be setup on the other channels as well, which is how I generally do it.
So I use CH7 as RTL, but you can just as easily select SRTL.
Have you updated to the latest FW and GCS?

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Not present as a drop down option in flight modes on Mission planner. Jumped over to QGCS and got it working though!

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You are probably using a very old version of Mission Planner.

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Thank you Matt so so much for sharing,yes your smile said it all,just have to love arducopter will give this a go here if the weather ever improves,more fun to be had

I want to try it also.

I’m using Mission Planner version 1.3.63, build from a few weeks ago. The flight controller is the latest Navio2 that includes Arducopter 3.6.5.

I see two new parameters SRTL_ACCURACY and SRTL_POINTS in the parameters, however; I cannot find anything about SRTL in the flight modes pull down nor do the FS_GCS and FS_THR parameters mention anything about options 4 and 5.

Is it really there yet?



Yes, I’ve got a quad on 3.6.5 and SRTL is in MissionPlanner and works well in real life