Airpelago Live User Manual

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 Last updated:  Feb 22nd 2022

© Airpelago AB

 
Table of content

Introduction

Solution description

1. Installation guide

   1.1. Verify your hardware is supported

   1.2. Sign-in

   1.3. Install the app

   1.4. Connect the app

2. Using Airpelago Live

   2.1. Watch live video

   2.2. Remote control from Web

   2.3. Upload full-res. photos

   2.4. Flight logs

   2.5. Access media

3. Waypoint missions

   3.1. Create a waypoint mission

   3.2. Waypoints

   3.3. Start a mission

4. Map layers

   4.1. Create a map layer

   4.2. Importing/exporting map layers

   4.3. Activating/deactivating map layers

5. Supported Hardware

6. Support / Getting help

7. FAQs / Troubleshooting

 
 
 
Introduction

Airpelago Live you can share your drone work live with your colleagues and partners. It allows you to share live video from your drone to all users with a computer and internet connection. It also allows you to share the remote control of your drone. The live video stream can be recorded along with the flight logs and played back to you on demand.

Solution description

The Airpelago Live App is a wrapper written on top of DJI Mobile SDK and allows the connected Android device to gain navigational control over the drone and fetch the drone’s state such as position, attitude, etc. It also allows the app to fetch the video live from the drone’s camera and instantly forward it to any user on the Airpelago Live system. 
The app communicates with the Airpelago Cloud, and in turn, allows the Airpelago Live web app, (your browser) to view the live video and take control of the drone.

1. Installation guide

This manual will guide you through the setup the Airpelago Live. Please go through of the following 4 steps:

  1. Verify that your drone/hardware is supported

  2. Sign in to Airpelago Live Web

  3. Install Airpelago Live App

  4. Connect Airpelago Live App


1.1. Verify your hardware is supported
  • We constantly work to expand support for an increased number of drones.
    Thus, the list of supported hardware and firmware updates frequently.
    Please visit this page to see the latest version of supported hardware.
    Supported hardware.

 

1.2. Sign in to Airpelago Live
  • Open Google Chrome or Safari on your PC, Mac, or iPad, and
    go to: fly.airpelago.com

  • Sign in to Airpelago Live using your sign-in credentials, which you
    should have received in your email. If you have not received sign-in
    credentials contact the administrator of your organization.

 
1.3. Install Airpelago Live App

We have made this video to illustrate these steps.

  1. Open the internet browser on your Android device or Smart Controller and open this link: live-app.airpelago.com (make sure that it has an internet connection), and click "download".

  2. Navigate to the File Manager and the downloaded-files directory. Open the last downloaded file. It has a filename on the format xxxxxxx.apk.

  3. Select it and click install.

(Please excuse possible warnings during installation that the software isn’t verified.) 


1.4. Connect the Airpelago Live App

We have made this video to illustrate these steps.
The first time you use the Airpelago Live App you will have to connect it to your organization. Connect it by following these steps:

  1. Open the App by clicking the Airpelago Live App icon on your Android device. Grant the app all rights that it asks for to allow for full operation.

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DMC Mobile icon How to start the app

The first time the app is opened, this window will show:

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2. Now, open the Airpelago Live application on your computer and navigate

    to the main menu by clicking the three horizontal line-menu icon in the top
    right corner. (You have to be signed in to fly.airpelago.com). Click the drones
    menu item and then click “Register new”, (see image)

3. Click “Generate code”. A one-time verification code appears that is valid for 1 minute. If the code expires before you have entered it, you can simply generate a new one.

4. Enter the code in the Airpelago Live App on your Android device / DJI Smart controller, and click verify.

Now your device is connected to your organization and all drones connected to that device/remote controller will be registered to your organization.
YOU ARE NOW READY TO FLY! See next chapter for how to watch the video in Airpelago Live.

 
2. Using Airpelago Live
2.1. Watch the live video in Airpelago Live
  1. Power on your drone.

  2. Power on your remote controller and Android device, or DJI Smart controller.

  3. Open the Airpelago Live App and wait for all connection steps to complete and turn green.
    - please note that for the very first time after installing the app, this process might take up to 1 min.

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4. Click "FLY"

When the video stream icon in the top right corner turns green, the live video will be available in Airpelago Live.

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5. Sign in to fly.airpelago.com to view the live video.

6. Click the drone icon in the top right bar and select “Watch video” in the menu. (see image below)

The video window pop out can further be maximized to fullscreen with the maximize button in the top right corner.  

2.2. Controlling your Drone from Airpelago Live

As a start, consult your Admin that your user has the privileges as Pilot or Camera control. Otherwise, you will only be allowed to view the live video stream.
1. Make sure that

a. Drone is powered on,

b. Remote has an internet connection, 

c. The Camera view in the Airpelago Live App is open, and

d. You have signed in to Airpelago Live fly.airpelago.com
 

2. To initiate remote control of the drone, make sure of the following:

a. The remote controller flight mode switch is set to P-mode

b. The local remote pilot in command has the drone within line of sight, is informed of the takeover, and ready to retake control of the drone at any time.

3. When deemed safe, click the drone icon in the top bar and choose “Take control”. 

A request is now sent to the Airpelago Live app on the remote controller.

Remote control request in DMC Web
 

The request has to be accepted within 10 seconds for the request to execute. If not, it expires and a new request has to be sent.
 

4. If the request for control is accepted, (and your user account has pilot rights), the control interface will appear at the bottom right of your screen (in Airpelago Live), see image below.

5. The remote pilot ( in the web interface) can now control the drone with his/her keyboard. (The latency is usually between 500-1000 ms.)


6. The local pilot can regain control of the drone at any time by doing one of the following:

a. Click the “Cancel” button in the Airpelago Live App

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       b. Switching the remote controller from P-mode

Controls

Function                       Keys
forward                                space
higher / lower                      W / S
zoom in / out                       E / D
yaw                                      right and left arrows
tilt cam up & down             up- and down arrows
backward                             disabled
side-ways                            disabled

 

Speed setting 1, 2, 3 equals; forward speed of 1, 2, and 8 m/s, and vertical speed of 1, 2, and 3 m/s.

2.3 Sync of full-resolution photos

When you capture a photo in the Airpelago Live app, the full-resolution image will automatically be uploaded to Airpelago Live. The photo is also stored onboard the drone's internal memory / SD card. The photo is uploaded both when the photo is triggered from inside the Airpelago Live app, the Remote controller, or from the desktop via remote control. The uploaded photos are added to the flight log during which they were captured.

The upload of one photo normally takes between 3-15 seconds depending on your internet connectivity and remote-to-drone link quality. Images will be available to all users of your organization. All signed-in users will get a notification when photos are captured and again when they are uploaded and available.

This function requires that the photo be captured in JPG format. If photos are captured in a RAW format the photo will not be uploaded to Airpelago Live but only stored on the internal memory card of the drone or on the drone's SD card.

2.4 Flight logs

To review flight logs, go to the Drone fleet page, which you

find in the Main Menu, (click your organization's name, see picture).

Here is a list of drones that are or have been connected to your organization. Maximize the list with the arrow down icon.  

Click the drone for which you want flight logs.

Icons to the right of each flight will show if videos and images are available for that flight. Click the icons to view the media, still images vs. video.

 
2.5 Access media

All media are connected to the flight it was captured. To access and review the media go to that particular flight log as described in 2.4 above. Both images and video can be downloaded via the download link below the images.

 
 
3. Waypoint missions

The waypoint mission’s tab can be accessed from the main menu under the sub-menu Operations in Waypoint missions. Entering this section provides a list of all previously created missions with the additional utilities of uploading a created mission to a drone as well as the capacity to edit or delete a mission, each represented in the drop-down menu accessed by clicking the three vertical dots in the top right corner of each mission list entry. 

Additionally, you can gain general information about each mission by clicking the downward-facing arrowhead icon next to the vertical dots. Missions are selected by either clicking its corresponding entry in the list or by clicking its blue marker on the map, each options will bring you to its its start location and present an outline of its route. To create a new mission, click the “Create new” button.

3.1 Create a waypoint mission

When a new mission is created, you are presented with a number of configurable parameters to suit your waypoint mission need. These will here be described moving from the top to bottom:

  1. Mission name: this is the name used to identify the specific mission. A name must be at least 3 characters long to ensure better readability for other users, however, we recommend using considerably more descriptive names.
     

  2. Summary: Provides an overview of the mission in terms of distances and time of execution:

    1. Total distance presents the total distance the drone will travel to complete the mission.​

    2. Max distance is the furthest distance away from the start point the drone will be at a single point during the mission. An important metric to ensure that execution follows regulation.

    3. Estimated time describes approximately how long the mission will take to complete, taking into account the distance and assigned a speed of the drone at each waypoint.
       

  3. Settings: Allows the user to set mission-specific information:

    1. Altitude, Speed, Pitch: these are the default values the drone will follow during the mission. Seeing as a majority of drone missions tend to follow a steady trajectory and velocity, setting default values allow the user to quickly create a mission without having to specifically set a value at every waypoint of the mission, however, if such a need would arise, the user is able to do so. Important to note, the default option for pitch is only visible when pitch mode is set to Controlled by mission.

    2. Finished action: How the drone will act after the mission is completed is decided here. Three options exist shown by different visuals at the final waypoint. Hover: once the drone has completed its mission, it will hover in place at the final waypoint at its set altitude. Land: once the drone has completed its mission, it will land at the last waypoint. Return to home: once the drone has completed its mission, it will return to its starting location prior to mission execution. Important to note is that it will perform this action at the altitude set at the final waypoint. Therefore, think proactively when this altitude is set so the drone does not collide with objects along the way.

   4. Pitch mode: The selection of this mode provides the user with the choice whether to enable manual camera movement in                      the form of pitching for the pilot to control, or limit it entirely to that set in the mission. Setting the pitch mode to Controlled                 by mission cause the pitch to be set to the values set in the mission. This option enables the pitch slider in each waypoint but               also a default pitch that work the same way as speed and altitude previously covered. The other option: Controlled by remote               leaves the pitching control to the pilot.

   5. Heading mode: Similar to the choice of manually setting the pitch, the heading can also be changed if one needs to. The heading         is set on a waypoint basis and is represented by an arrow by each waypoint, pointing in the direction of its set heading.  

       1. By default, the Always forward heading mode is chosen. This cause the drone's camera to point forward in the                                       direction of its trajectory over the course of the mission.​

       2. Custom allows the user to specifically set the heading at each waypoint. The heading can be adjusted by the now                                 available slider in each waypoint row or by clicking the waypoint on the map and using the context menu.

       3. Point of interest ensures that the heading will always be pointed towards a set point of interest described next.

   6. Point of Interest: An optional setting that causes the drone to align its camera with a point of view on a set coordinate. If this                option is not selected, the point of view of the drone will follow its movement trajectory.

 
 
3.2 Waypoints

The final section of the mission creation is the waypoints themselves. Added waypoints are displayed as a list at the bottom of the mission creation window. Waypoints are added in sequence by clicking the sought-after location on the map. They can also be added between existing waypoints by clicking the line that connects them. A waypoint can be removed by either clicking the trash can icon to the right of the selected waypoint in the list or by selecting the waypoint on the map and clicking the trash can icon. As waypoints are added or removed from the mission, the list of waypoints will increase or decrease accordingly.

Each waypoint is by default configured to follow the default altitude, speed and pitch applied to the mission in the Settings section. If one wishes to have a varying values between waypoints, the “Use default” checkbox can be unticked. This option is accessible by clicking the waypoint on the map or its list entry. Important to note, the effects of a change in altitude/speed are initialized after the drone has passed the waypoint. Meaning that it will change its altitude/speed/pitch on its route to the next waypoint and not on its way to the waypoint of a differing altitude/speed/pitch.

Additionally, a Camera action can be set on each waypoint. This is an option that allow camera events to happen at set waypoint locations. Each waypoint’s camera action can be changed either by clicking the waypoint on the map or its corresponding entry in the waypoints list. The available camera actions are:​​

  • None: no camera action is performed.

  • Start interval photo: the drone starts to take photos in given intervals.
    Resulting in a number of still photos between the start and stop interval photo actions.

    • Stop interval photo: stops the drone’s camera sequence of taking photos in given
      intervals. This action is only available after a Start interval photo action has been set.​

  • Start video recording: the drone starts to record the video between the given start and stop video recording actions.

    • Stop recording video: stops the drone’s video recording procedure. This action is only available after a Start video recording action has been set.​

  • Taking a single photo: the drone takes a single photo at the waypoint location.

Once the mission has been configured to completion, the Save button can be clicked to save the mission to the organization. If the save button is not clickable, it is likely due to that the name of the mission is too short or that two or fewer waypoints have been set.

3.3 Start a mission

To upload a waypoint mission, the user must be in control of a drone. A mission can then be selected by clicking the drone icon on the map and selecting the item select mission from the resulting menu. If not already open, the waypoint missions section will be opened to the right. This section displays the mission entries covered in the beginning of this section. All available missions have a green background to their entry. This indicates that the drone is within 1000 meters from the first waypoint of the mission. This is an additional precaution to not mistakingly initiate a mission that would cause the drone to fly BVLOS. 

To select a mission to be uploaded to the drone, simply click the entry. If a “No drone selected” error is presented to the left, either no drone is currently controlled or the drone has not been selected. The latter is performed by either clicking the drone information window in the top-left corner or by clicking the drone icon on the map. The user is then finally prompted whether to upload the mission to the drone or not.

Once the mission has been uploaded to the drone, a “Mission overview” window appears at the bottom of the screen. This window provides waypoint-specific information as the drone traverses along each waypoint during the mission. The overview displays a continuous estimation of what waypoint the drone has reached in the mission, an approximation of how long the mission will take to complete as well as the time to the next waypoint. Additionally, the user is provided with information on the next waypoint’s altitude and speed. 

Once the mission has been successfully uploaded, the user can start the mission by clicking the play button. The user is then prompted one final time to confirm the takeoff before the mission is executed. This prompt is primarily to ensure that no foliage or other obstructions exist above the drone as it will initially rise straight up to the altitude of the first waypoint prior to initiating the mission. 

The mission is then executed and can be followed by observing its traversal on the map and the continuous update of the mission overview window. If the mission needs to be paused, the user can do so by clicking the pause button which has now taken the location of the play button. At any point, the mission can be aborted by changing the mode on the smart controller. The mission then terminates and the user gains full control of the drone. If no termination is performed, the drone will finish the mission and execute the specified Finished action before finalizing the mission and giving control back to the user.

 
4. Map layers

Map layers are commonly used to enforce the regulation, provide auxiliary geographical information as well as visually enhance regions of interest. These are presented by colorized fields or symbols on the map each representing a specific location or region which could prove useful to the in-field pilot or to faster gain an understanding of the area of interest. While the most important general information such as precipitation, ground obstacles, and airspaces are available as default map layers in the web application, it is beneficial to be able to create personal, custom map layers. Whether these map layers are meant to visually enhance various project areas or provide miscellaneous information for the in-field pilots, is up for the user to decide.

 
4.1 Create a map layer

The map layer creation and editing screen can be accessed from the main menu by clicking the Map layers menu item. This opens up a section to the left that displays all created custom map layers and the various features they each consist of. A feature can be a symbol, line, or polygon and are the primary instruments to convey information. Each layer is accessed by clicking their respective fields, only one layer is active at a time during editing, to minimize the risk of confusion and accidental changes to non-intended map layers.

A layer can be created by clicking the Add layer icon to the right of the map layer editor screen. This creates a new empty, untitled layer, by selecting the layer and choosing one of the four available tools, the user can begin to develop the map layer. There are four available tools to assist the creator:

  • The hand tool is used to navigate the map and select existing features. By clicking the map and dragging, one can navigate over the area as the user sees fit. By clicking existing features in the layer, the feature can be examined and edited further. Editing can be performed by either clicking and dragging existing points to change the shape of the feature or in a more descriptive manner by utilizing the pop-up window when the feature is clicked. Here the name and description of the feature can be edited as well as its visual representation. The type of visual editing that can take place is dependent on the type of feature.

    • Symbol: the icon used for the symbol can be changed to one of a number of relevant types of symbols. For some of these, other colorations are also available.

    • Lines: the color can be changed according to the available color palette provided in the editing view as well as the thickness of the line.

    • Polygon: the color can be changed according to the available color palette provided in the editing view, as well as the opacity of the polygon’s filled area. Additionally, to solve the issue of polygons overlapping other geometries, a send to back action is available. This effectively pushes the polygon layer to the bottom, thus allowing all other geometries to be presented on top of it. This solves the problem of polygons blocking the user's capacity to click on other geometries that may be overlapped by the polygon.

  • The marker tool is used to set an icon/symbol on the map. The intended purpose of setting an icon of this sort can vary greatly. Generally symbols are used to warn or inform of various scenarios that could affect the work ahead. Minor scenarios such as available parking spots, blocked roads or zones which require additional care are just a few situations where symbols could benefit greatly.

  • The line tool is used to either define areas in the form of polygons or to draw lines. A polygon can be created by having more than two lines enclosed. Adding polygonal areas is commonly used to indicate areas of interest and care. Situations such as defining project areas or indicating forbidden flight zones due to restricted airspace, schools, or other high population areas could affect the legitimacy of drone flight. The line tool can be used for a number of things depending on the level of detail the creator sees fit. Some of which could be to describe efficient routes to various locations or to draw boundaries where flight could be hazardous or illegal, such as flying over highways. A line can be created by placing points on the map and by clicking the last point whenever the line is considered complete.

  • The ruler tool is a miscellaneous tool used to provide the user with an idea of distances during the creation of a map layer. It does therefore not serve any real purpose during the creation of a map layer other than provide an overview of distances.

 
4.2 importing/exporting map layers

Map layers created in the web application can be exported as a KML file. This is performed by clicking the three vertical dots next to the layer name and selecting Download KML. The formatting provided is compatible with third-party software such as Google My Maps. Meaning that all features, as well as their visual representation, carry over. This does however exclude icons that are defaulted to a generic one. The same thing goes for map layers that have been created in Google My Maps. While the map layers created in the web application can be uploaded to any third-party software capable of visualizing KML files, it is unlikely that the visual representation will carry over and will therefore have to be reconfigured, however geometrical shapes will remain the same. Map layers in the formats KML and GeoJSON can be imported to the web application by clicking the upload icon just right of the map layer editor screen. The imported layer will be placed in the list of layers and given the name of the imported file.

 
4.3 Activating/deactivating map layers

Once a map layer has been created it can be viewed on the map outside of the map layer editor. These map layers are clickable to quickly provide the user with the name and description provided in the map layer feature. If a specific map layer is not necessary or blocking the view of an area it can be deactivated in the right bottom corner of the map. By clicking the topmost button in the icon column, a list of all created custom map layers is displayed. Clicking an active layer will remove it from the map until it has been activated again or the web application is reloaded.

 
3. Supported Hardware

The list of supported hardware is updated frequently. The list of supported drones is:

  • DJI Mavic 2 Zoom & Pro with Smart controller

  • DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Zoom & Duo

  • DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced

  • DJI Matrice 300 RTK wit H20, H20T cameras, P1 and L1 to be supported in Q3

Please use the latest firmware version on both the drone and the remote controller. In general, both standard remote controller and smart controllers are supported. Visit this link for further information about supported hardware.

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6. Support / Getting help

We work to provide support as soon as we can. Our goal is to answer all support errands within 24 hours, on weekdays.  
For all support questions, email: support@airpelago.com

5. Supported Hardware

The list of supported hardware is updated frequently. The list of supported drones is:

  • DJI Mavic 2 Zoom & Pro with Smart controller

  • DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Zoom & Duo

  • DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced

  • DJI Matrice 300 RTK wit H20, H20T cameras, P1, and L1 to be supported in Q3

Please use the latest firmware version on both the drone and the remote controller. In general, both standard remote controller and smart controllers are supported. Visit this link for further information about supported hardware.

20210525 supported hardware.png
7. FAQs / Troubleshooting

Q. The drone icon does not show in Airpelago Live, or ”Watch video”. What do I do?

A. Make sure that you, 1.

  • use an updated version of Google Chrome or Safari as a browser, (on iPad, only Safari is supported),

  • all devices are running the latest software versions, 

  • your equipment is supported by Airpelago Live, 

  • your computer is not behind a restrictive firewall. → If so, change to an open network and see if that remedies the issue.

  • The Airpelago Live App is open and the camera icon in the top right corner turns green.

If that does not solve the issue, try this second step (2).

2. Do a hard reboot & re-connect the USB cable 

  • Close all applications and force stop the Airpelago Live App and all DJI apps, (how to force stop apps on the smart controller)

  • Replug the USB into the android device, and 

  • if you get a pop-up window asking to make the Airpelago Live App default, do so! 

  • without such a popup, please ‘clear default’ of other apps (especially DJI Apps), and restart debugging from step 2.

  • Start the Airpelago Live App. Wait for the status text to go through steps 1-4. This might take up to 1 min.

  • If your problem persists, contact us at support@airpelago.com from the registered email ID, mention your drone’s model name along with any debug information that you can provide.

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Q I have video but why can I not take control of the drone?

A Make sure that;

  • your user account has Pilot privilege, (ask the admin of your organization), 

  • the Remote is in P mode, and

  • the drone has GPS-lock (green) and is airborne.

​Q. How do I take back control of the drone?

A. When the drone is being controlled via Airpelago Live, there are two ways for the remote pilot-in-field to instantly take back control; 

  • 1. change the position of the RC mode switch, or, 

  • 2. click the red CANCEL button on the screen.

The controls will also be restored if the user in Airpelago Live chooses "Leave control".

Q I have video but why can I not take control of the drone?

A Make sure that;

  1. your user account has the privilege to take control of the, (ask the admin of your organization), 

  2. the user has the remote switch on the remote in P mode, and

  3. the drone has GPS-lock.

Q Why does the drone disconnect when I leave the app?

A Yes. For the Airpelago Live App to be able to push live video and telemetry from your smartphone/tablet/smart controller it has to be open and active.

Q Why can I only control the camera, not the drone?

A This is because of; 

  1. Your user account is not set to “Pilot”, please consult the admin of your organization,

  2. Your drone is indoors or lacks GPS lock for other reasons.

Q How do I change my account type/user privileges? 

A User's privileges can be changed by entering the Admin submenu tab
    in the main menu and selecting Organization setup.
 Only the organization
    administrator has the right to change user privileges.

Q The latency is higher than I expected, what can I do?

A The latency is usually between 400-1000 ms. If you experience higher latency, make sure of the following; 

  • you use supported hardware,

  • your internet connection is at least 2Mbit/s, both the uplink and the downlink, on both in-field device and computer,

  • VPN services can increase latency, if possible, turn it off,

  • your geographic location. Currently, we only have servers in the EU. If you are flying elsewhere, latency may increase. Please let us know if you are located elsewhere and we will try to work with you to find a solution.

Q How do I share access to anyone out of my organization?

A For security reasons, this is not supported (guest sign-in), however, the admin of your organization can easily create a new user account, which can be shared with anyone, also out of your organization.

Q How to I jump between the DJI app and the Airpelago Live app?

A Short answer is that is not very well supported by Android. Access to any USB-port can only be linked to one app at a time. However, a switch between apps can usually be as easy as killing all running apps and open the app of your choice. If it does not work, app 'defaults' will have to be cleared, cable reconnected and the app opened again.