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Pix4d capture crashed and the drone never returned

Today, my phantom 3 advanced crashed during a grid flight with pix4d capture. 

I have designed a double grid mission 220 x 300 m at 120 meters altitude. I have in the past performed many double grid missions with the same equipment without problems.

The drone started the mission and finished the first grid taking all the pictures. At the corner of the grid just before the start of the second grid the drone lost the connection with the remote controller and pix4d capture crashed. I used the abort mission button, but the drone did not come back. I swithed the remote controller to P position and tried to get it back manually but I did not get connection to the drone. Finally after the baterrie went empty the drone crashed on a tree.

I really don’t know if this is due to the last dji firmware update or to the last pix4d update. It seems that after the last updates there are many connection problems between the drone and the remote controller.

Waiting for your reply,

Konstantinos

Hi Konstantinos,

We are sincerely sorry to hear about this bad experience.

The drone is actually responsible for not destroying itself and going out of control. The app tells the drone where to go, when to take pictures, and when it does not work this is due to issues on Pix4D side. But our app is not responsible when the drone crashes as we cannot give instructions that would override the safe behavior of the drone.

When the situation becomes out of control, it is coming from the drone, because it is the “driver” meaning the aircraft knows how to fly. Normally taking over manual control should prevent incidents from happening.

Were you able to take over manual control? Have you tried to tap Abort in Pix4Dcapture to interrupt the mission or to press the RTH button of the remote controller before the drone goes too far away and looses the connection? When the connection is lost, the fail-safe behavior that you define in the manufacturer’s app should be triggered.

Also could you confirm the latest drone’s firmware and apps installed?

Again we are very sorry for your drone. I hope these answers will be useful to understand what happened.

Hi

The same behaviour described by Konstantinos happened to us too. Basically, we were flying a relatively long mission with an from an iPhone 6 when Pix4Dcapture & the controller lost the signal after only a third of the mission (the drone was behind a group of trees and so the radio somehow failed). We expected the drone to return at either low battery or the end of the mission, but it never came back.

Luckily, after 2h of searching, we found the drone stuck in a tree. It appears that it tried to land itself when the battery ran out. We got quite a scare from it though, so I wanted to know if there’s a way to avoid this? Why didn’t the drone not “return to home” when the battery got down to 20%? And how can we avoid loosing it in the future?

Thanks

Hi Dan,

Regardless of the remaining battery of the drone, losing the signal with the remote controller (and so with Pix4Dcapture) after more than 3 seconds triggers the fail-safe action. This will override the actions sent by Pix4Dcapture. Check DJI GO (4) to tweak the fail-safe and return-to-home (RTH) settings.

Best,

Hi,

My drone also has same problem.When it is flying using pix4d software by using  grid mission at height of 70m.But in between mission i dont know what happened suddenly fall in down.Actually,i had engaged one project so i had backup drone.After couple of days same things happened this drone also.Drone firmware and pix4d everything updated but still i am confusing what happened.

@Manikandan,

Prior the flight we recommend to check the Basic checks and troubleshooting article and check that the drone is operational while flying with DJI GO app. Also, make sure that all the sensors on the drone are calibrated and operational.

If you notice some strange behavior while flying the drone in the automated mission we recommend to abort the mission and take over manual control.

Hi PIX4D team

I have the same problem.
On July 26, our phanthom4-advanced (purchased on June 12, 2018) deviated as it ascended to its planned flight lines with Pix4DCapture.

  1. The flight lines were planned 150 meters above the ground, but when the drone ascended 50 meters it deviated, taking a strange path.
  2. We use the “return to home” button, but the drone did not respond.
  3. The drone went horizontally 780 meters with a sinuous trajectory at the same height of 50 meters, then lost communication.
  4. We look for it and we never find it.
  5. We are also surprised that the dataflash shows:
    “MSG, 1532463982449, DataFlash Begins: 2018-07-24T20: 26Z”
    But the flight took place on July 26.
  6. From the following link you can download the content of the Mission7 generated with Pix4DCapture:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1LrI00T3n72qvPGAh1CRme7Bx08IWQGUZ
  7. The drone did not request calibration before the flight. The drone had the firmware updated.
  8. What caused the fault of the lost drone?
  9. Two months ago the same happened to a friend here in Peru with a Phanthom4 and using Pix4DCapture.
    Waiting for your reply.
    Regards,
    Carlos

Hi Carlos,

We are sincerely sorry to hear about this bad experience. As Julie mentioned it in a comment above, the drone is actually responsible for not destroying itself and going out of control. The app tells the drone where to go, when to take pictures, and when it does not work this is due to issues on the Pix4D side. But our app is not responsible when the drone crashes as we cannot give instructions that would override the safe behavior of the drone. When the situation becomes out of control, it is coming from the drone as it is the “driver” meaning the aircraft knows how to fly. 

Normally taking over manual control should prevent incidents from happening. Were you able to take over manual control? Have you tried to tap  Abort  in Pix4Dcapture to interrupt the mission before the drone goes too far away and loses the connection? When the connection is lost, the fail-safe behavior that you define in the drone app should be triggered. 

Again we are very sorry for the drone and we hope these answers are useful to understand what happened. Thank you for having provided us the logs, we will take a look at them to see if we can find the cause.

Best,