30th of October, 2023

Field notes and log download

Field notes and log download
Skybrush Team
Skybrush Team

We have released Skybrush Live 2.8.0 and SKybrush Server 2.17.0 today. We take great pride in eating our own dog food, and this is no different with this release: just like last year, we have been using the bleeding-edge versions to perform all our shows during the last summer before releasing them to the general public.

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.

Field notes panel #

Skybrush Live now includes a new panel called Field Notes. This panel can be used to jot down quick notes during a test flight or a live event without having to leave Skybrush Live itself. You can use it to record weather conditions, client contact information, technical issues with your equipment that you want to follow up later in your office, or any improvement ideas to Skybrush Live that you want to share with us later on Discord after your next successful show.

Notes can be formatted using Markdown syntax and they are automatically saved on disk so you can close and re-open Live any time without losing them. For archival purposes, you can save the notes in Markdown format with a single click of a button.

Over-the-air log downloads #

We have added support for downloading log files directly from MAVLink-based drones – no need to start Mission Planner again just to download the logs. This feature is currently in an experimental stage; the implementation is there and it worked fine with our own drones, but downloading logs produces heavy traffic from the drone to the ground station and it is not uncommon to run into packet loss problems (and thus low download speeds) over wifi – it all depends on how well your onboard wifi module is handling the extra load. If you experience issues with log downloads on your own drones, let us know on Discord and we will try to help you in figuring out what can be improved.

Our long-term goal is to provide seamless on-demand log downloads in the community edition. We also plan to extend the Pro edition with a module that downloads and archives logs automatically behind the scenes in future versions.

Other improvements #

Flight report extension for Pro users #

The server now includes an extension named flight_report that can be used to log takeoff, landings and the appearance and disappearance of error flags automatically on the server side. The extension can also create summary reports from these events in HTML, CSV and JSON formats for viewing, exporting and processing the events programmatically with other tools.

If you are a Pro user and you would like to enable the extension, navigate to http://localhost:5000 from a browser while the server is running and enable the extension on the web UI. Do not forget to save the new configuration if you want the logging to be running behind the scenes continuously.

Quick switching between UAVs from the Details dialog #

Clicking on the drone indicator on the top of the sidebar of the UAV details dialog now allows you to quickly switch to another drone from within the dialog, either by clicking or by typing its ID.

If you own a MAVLink-based drone with a recent version of our firmware (version 20230920 or later is preferred), Live will display a blue DRIFT indicator next to the drone during a show if the drone is significantly lagging behind its desired position. This is usually not a cause for concern as it is relatively easy to design shows where the drone is temporarily not able to follow its desired trajectory after sudden starts or after coming to a standstill, but if you see this indicator for a drone for a prolonged amount of time (over a few seconds), it is an indication to your show designer that maybe you are pushing the limits of what your drones can achieve.

Configurable takeoff headings #

In the Setup Environment dialog of Skybrush Live, you can now configure an alternative desired takeoff heading for your drones that is different from the X axis of the show coordinate system. Note that the desired takeoff heading is used by the automatic show coordinate system alignment algorithm so make sure you set it correctly before trying to use the automatic show coordinate system alignment feature.

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 Nik on Unsplash