How to Find a Lost Drone

One of the most familiar reasons for a drone getting lost is because of it’s failure to attain initial connection with it’s pilot. There are many explanations that a remote control may fail, most likely when it has not been received a power connection or an unusual power signal. If primary fails, a secondary fails or your drone has simply flown into difficult terrain or encountered a number of obstacles in flight. In all these cases, finding a lost drone can be complicated and time-consuming.

There are three methods to connect a drone to you:

First methods

The method used by hobbyists and the way used by professional aerial craftsmen and helicopters.

Hobbyists frequently use the “winged” method, connecting their quadcopter via radio frequencies and with the help of a transmitter fixed in their vehicle. This enables them to control their drones simply by making moves with their hands. However, amateur pilots may not always be proficient with this method and may end up damaging or even destroying their drones through mistakes.

 Second method

The method involves attaching the drone to a GPS tracker on a piece of equipment that is on hand or attached to someone on the ground who knows how to use the device.

A GPS tracker essentially works as a tracking device. Once your quadcopter has flown into a difficult area and the battery pack has run out of power, you can activate the device and acquire other important data for your location. This type of system provides much more detailed information than a simple transmitter mounted to your quadcopter.

An amateur might attempt to recover their craft by manually searching for it using Google maps. However, this is nearly impossible to do accurately and efficiently. For example, if your quadcopter has been lost in a mountainous area, the chances of your flight logs being found (by someone with the necessary expertise) are slim to none. Likewise, even if your craft does survive the flight, there isn’t a guarantee that the GPS tracker you’ve attached to it will still have functional frequencies. Thus, you should avoid searching for your flight log on Google unless you’re willing to spend hours, maybe days, trying to recover.

 Third method

The method to locate and reunite with your lost drone without paying thousands of dollars to international or local search parties is to use a specialized DJI go app.

 It’s important to note that the name “DJI go app” refers to the manufacturer’s brand, and not the application itself. The dji go app was developed by professional drone hobbyists. The product offers users the most efficient way to locate, map, and track down almost any form of remote control or aerial vehicle in the world. In addition, the software has been modified to work with the DJI Phantom 4, allowing users to check the aircrafts controls from their smartphones.

Most pilots erroneously think that locations where their lost drones are impossible, but new technology has made it entirely possible. The DJI Go app allows users to input last known coordinates into the program, allowing the search engine-based system to give up-to-date coordinates wherever the aircraft may be in the air. Furthermore, the program utilizes the real-time data from the autopilot system to continually update and improve the quality of results. In addition to the easy search function, the app also offers more advanced searches through a drag and drop interface. This advanced search function allows users to enter a particular area or city, as well as specify whether they want to search within the national, state, or even city borders.

Users can furthermore use the DJI Go app to inspect whether their drones have already been lost. By using the mobile app, they can input details about the types of flights the quadcopter has flown by, as well as how many miles (or kilometers) it has flown. This will enable the user to determine whether the craft is new or not, especially if they often fly long distances over uncharted areas. If the craft has already gone missing, the app will also reveal information about the weather in the area, but as well as other useful data such as difficulty in landing the craft, engine failures, flying conditions, landing barriers, etc. This valuable data will help the owners identify weak points in their systems before they actually lose their quadcopter, resulting in the timely recovery of their craft.

For those who have invested in a DJI Phantom 4 without a GPS receiver, there is no hope. The free app gives users the ability to input flight logs and receive real-time location updates. The mobile application uses Google Maps to pull together all information from the GPS and UAV sensors on board, as well as a variety of other onboard resources including battery charge, flight duration, current altitude, current speed and the estimated  of arrival. The resulting report includes the name of the craft, its latitude and longitude, altitude, speed and distance travelled. To provide this detailed information, the application must constantly update itself with onboard data. A subscription is required to access the tracking data, but users can expect to receive many detailed reports each week.

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