First Follow Me Flight

Quad Copter footage of my first Follow Me Flight – Boston MA

For this video I used a non standard DJI app that includes a “follow me” feature which when activated will follow the GPS coordinates of your cell phone. I thought this would be a great feature but there were several problems. The worst of which was loss of communication with the drone that lead to a crash of the drone!

While the drone did follow me as I walked down the street a person cannot walk fast enough to cover much area. Due to this the drone moved very slow. Often it would hover and wait then catch up all at once. This lag caused the video to be boring at best and jerky at worst. Maybe if the cell it was following were in a vehicle some of this would be resolved but I’m not sure of the legality of that, since you are supposed to have eyes on the drone at all times.

When I was about half way over the highway, which you see at the end of this video, I lost all communications with the drone. I tried everything, it just hovered over busy highway traffic. My heart was beating like crazy! My last resort, as I was worried about battery life by this point was to turn off the remote completely. This did as advertised and sent the drone back to its home point, where it took of from. When it did take off it did at full speed and I shortly lost sight of it. I ran back to the home point but it was nowhere to be found. I heard a kid yelling from the nearby woods. My drone had crashed in the woods on its way back home, presumably from running out of battery life. I met the kid half way and he handed me my drone. Other than one broken propeller it was undamaged. I was able to put on a new prop and do a short test flight before packing it up and calling it a day. Unfortunately the video file for the return home flight was corrupted, due to loosing power before the video was turned off.

Thinking back I really wish I would have given the kid a reward. I was just so nervous about loosing it and then excited for getting it back I didn’t even think about it at the time. I was very lucky that anyone had spotted it go down, or I would have likely never recovered it, and that he was honest enough to return it. That kind of honesty should be rewarded.