22nd of October, 2022

Automatic show coordinate system alignment

Automatic show coordinate system alignment
Skybrush Team
Skybrush Team

We have released Skybrush Live 2.6.0 today. We take great pride in eating our own dog food, and this is no different with this release: it is a battle-tested version that we have been using to perform all our shows during the last summer.

Visit the Modules page to download the latest versions of Skybrush Live. As always, the community edition of Skybrush Live is limited to 10 drones, but you can always get the source code of the components (without limitations on the number of drones) from Github.

Automatic alignment of show coordinate system #

You probably all know how it used to work in the past: you lay out your drones in the field in a grid the way it was designed by the show designer, and then you need to figure out where the show origin is and what the orientation of the X axis is. Before this version, the easiest way to do it was to place a drone on the origin, facing the X axis, and use its measured coordinates and yaw angle. From version 2.6.0, the process has become much easier: just place your drones on the takeoff grid, make sure that they have a good position estimate (by feeding them RTK corrections for a few minutes), then press the “magic wand” button in the “Setup environment” dialog. Skybrush will then try to align the layout of the takeoff grid from the show file to the actual placement of the drones, even if not all drones are currently laid out on the field.

Currently the algorithm assumes that the drones point towards the positive X axis of the show coordinate system; this assumption might be relaxed in the future, but right now it’s best if you design your shows in a way that the preferred heading of the drones aligns with the positive X axis.

Other improvements #

Broadcast switch moved to the header #

The broadcast switch introduced in version 2.4.0 was moved to the header of the window and it can now be toggled with a hotkey for a limited period of time. This makes it easier to test the lights and the communcation to the drones before a show as you can use hotkeys to broadcast a “flash your lights” command to all drones.

Map view improvements #

UAV trajectories (blue lines) on the map now show arrowheads to indicate the direction of the trajectory. Also, you can now select empty mission slots and they will still show the corresponding trajectory on the map. Finally, line string and polygon features can now draw a marker for their individual points on the map.

Providing feedback #

As always, feel free to contact us on Discord for feedback, bug reports, feature requests and ideas. If you would like to report an issue and you know which component of Skybrush is the source of the problem, you can also open an issue in the issue tracker of the corresponding repository on Github.

Cover photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash