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Completely autonomous flying with no RX/TX equipment


Junior Member
Hi all,
I'm not really interested in flying in real time. While I like flying, this is a need based problem. What we need is a drone that can survey the planted fields and do an imaging pass (NDVI) to let us know where we need to direct attention. We have some autonomous ground based vehicles for this but run times are low and maintenance is high. It seems like a fixed wing setup would give us long flight times per watt and allow us to do the NDVI survey in a relatively short time. Copters that we have tried in the past have the problem of short flight times and necessitate lots of short flights each followed by charge cycles. GPS waypoints are important to making this work well and we have all of the fields well mapped.

What I'd like is a setup based on commodity equipment to do GPS waypoint flyovers with NVDI cameras. The last piece of that (the cameras) we have well in hand. The first part, commodity GPS waypoint flyovers is the problem. I'd like to avoid purchasing expensive TX/RX equipment just to launch and recover something.

Am I looking for a unicorn? Or can this be made from readily available pieces? Thanks!


Junior Member
A slow flying plane is far more energy efficient than a quad copter.
Have you looked at the open source software:


The pixhawk controllers with GPS modules are in the $100 to $200 range.

Not sure how well they work for take off and landing but they can load a sequence of way points.