Navigation modes

rolyexpress edited this page Nov 6, 2018 · 28 revisions

This Wiki page needs updating in regards to renamed CLI variables.

This page will list and explain all the different navigational flight modes of iNav:

For safety reasons, iNAV’s navigation modes can be activated only if

  • ACC and MAG are calibrated properly,
  • you have a valid 3D GPS fix,
  • the FC is armed.

This applies to enabling the navigation modes in the Configurator as well as at the flying field.
(For bench tests without(!) propellers you may change “set nav_extra_arming_safety = ON” to “OFF” in CLI.)

  • Flightmodes are self contained. For example: with RTH and WP (Waypoints) it's not neccesary to enable angle, althold or mag, it enables what it needs. Keep in mind that POSHOLD is also self contained and enables what it need, but that does not include ALTHOLD. Read more below in POSHOLD section.

Note: All iNAV parameters for distance, velocity, and acceleration are input in cm, cm/s and cm/s^2.

Let's have a look at each mode of operation in detail.

ALTHOLD - Altitude hold

When activated, the aircraft maintains its actual altitude unless changed by manual throttle input. Throttle input indicate climb or sink up to a predetermined maximum rate (see CLI variables). Using ALTHOLD with a multicopter, you need a barometer.
SONAR: Altitude hold code will use sonar automatically on low altitudes (< 3m) if hardware is available.
Using ALTHOLD with a plane (fixed wing: fw) with GPS: Since iNAV 1.5 it's recommended to keep baro enabled, and for iNav 1.6 the plan is to rely even less on GPS altitude when baro is enabled.

In general you shouldn't mix up ALTHOLD and ACRO/HORIZON: ALTHOLD doesn't account for extreme acro maneuvers.

Activate ALTHOLD by ALTHOLD flight mode.
Altitude, as calculated by iNAV's position estimator, is recorded to BLACKBOX as navPos[2].

a) Using ALTHOLD with a multicopter (mc):

Activate AIRMODE to keep the copter stable in fast descent - now you can do the whole flight in altitude hold - from takeoff to landing.

Climb rate in ALTHOLD mode:
"set nav_max_climb_rate = 500" and "set nav_manual_climb_rate = 200" define the maximum climb and decent rate in autonomous/manual flight modes.
The neutral position of the throttle stick to hold current altitude is defined by

  • “set nav_use_midthr_for_althold=ON”: use mid position of throttle stick as neutral.
  • “set nav_use_midthr_for_althold =OFF”: use current stick position (i.e. when activating ALTHOLD) as neutral. [Yet, if "nav_use_midthr_for_althold=OFF”, and you enable ALTHOLD with throttle stick too low (like on the ground) iNAV will take “thr_mid” as a safe default for neutral. “thr_mid” is defined In the “Receiver” tab and should be set to hover throttle.]

In the moment you engage ALTHOLD iNAV always sends “nav_mc_hover_thr” to the motors as the starting value of the altitude control loop. You should configure this to your copter's hover setting, if your copter doesn't hover close to the default value of 1500us. Otherwise your copter will begin ALTHOLD with a jump or drop.

Example: Let's assume "nav_mc_hover_thr” is already set correctly to your copter's hover throttle and “set nav_use_midthr_for_althold =OFF”. Let's say you have your throttle stick at 30%, and you enter ALTHOLD, your copter will maintain hover at this 30%. If increase throttle up to 40% it will start to climb. (Even if your copter needs 60% throttle to actually climb up in normal flight without ALTHOLD.)

"set alt_hold_deadband = 50": You have to change throttle command (e.g. move throttle stick) by at least this amount to make the copter climb or decent and change target altitude for ALTHOLD.
If ALTHOLD is activated at zero throttle iNAV will account for deadband and move the neutral "zero climb rate" position a little bit up to make sure you are able to descend.

PIDs for altitude hold:

  • ALT P - defines how fast copter will attempt to compensate for altitude error (converts alt error to desired climb rate)
  • ALT I - defines how fast copter will accelerate to reach desired climb rate
  • VEL P - defines how much throttle copter will add to achieve desired acceleration
  • VEL I - controls compensation for hover throttle (and vertical air movement, thermals). This can essentially be zero if hover throttle is precisely 1500us. Too much "VEL I" will lead to vertical oscillations, too low "VEL I" will cause drops or jumps when ALTHOLD is switched on.
  • VEL D - acts as a dampener for VEL P and VEL I, will slower the response and reduce oscillations from too high VEL P and VEL I

Inability to maintain altitude can be caused by a number of reasons:

  1. insufficient ALT_P and/or ALT_I
  2. non-functional baro (please go to "Sensors" tab in Configurator and verify that baro graph changes as you move the quad up and down
  3. seriously under-powerd quad (ALTHOLD is able to compensate only to some degree. If your quad hovers at 1700 linear throttle without any expo, ALTHOLD might fail to compensate)
  4. Gaining altitude during fast flight is likely due to increased air pressure and that is treated as going down in altitude - try covering your baro with (more) foam.

Lets make a small experiment: Make sure baro is well isolated. You may also want to reduce baro weight: "set iNAV_w_z_baro_p = 0.5" and "set nav_alt_p = 0" and try flying. This way the controller will attempt to keep zero climb rate without any reference to altitude. The quad should slowly drift either up or down. If it would be jumping up and down, your "nav_vel_*" gains are too high.
As a second step you can try zeroing out "nav_vel_p" and "nav_vel_i" and "set nav_vel_d = 100". Now the quad should be drifting up/down even slower. Raise "nav_vel_d" to the edge of oscillations.
Now raise "nav_vel_p" to the edge of oscillations. Now ALTHOLD should be almost perfect.
And finally "set nav_mc_hover_thr" slightly (50-100) higher/lower than your actual hover throttle and tune "nav_vel_i" until the quad is able to compensate.
Keep in mind that no tuning can fix bad baro isolation issue.

If quad is buzzing while ALTHOLD is activated try lowering "nav_vel_p" a bit.

What is the trick with "nav_vel_i"?
"nav_vel_i" is used to compensate for "nav_mc_hover_thr" (hover throttle) being set to a slightly incorrect value. You can't set hover throttle to an exact value, there is always influence from thermals, battery charge level etc. Too much "nav_vel_i" will lead to vertical oscillations, too low "nav_vel_i" will cause drops or jumps when ALTHOLD is enabled, very low "nav_vel_i" can result in total inability to maintain altitude.

To deal with oscillations you can try lowering your "nav_alt_p", "nav_vel_p", "nav_max_climb_rate", and "nav_manual_climb_rate".

Climb rate is calculated form the readings of the accelerometers, barometer and – if available – from GPS (“set inav_use_gps_velned = ON”). How strongly the averages of these noisy signals are taken into account in the estimation of altitude change by iNAV is controlled by

  • set inav_w_z_baro_p = 0.350
  • set inav_w_z_gps_p = 0.200
    for vertical position (z) and
  • set inav_w_z_gps_v = 0.500
    for vertical velocity. Too high “iNAV_w_z_baro_p”will make ALTHOLD nervous and too low will make it drift so you risk running into the ground when cruising around. Using GPS readings for vertical velocity allows for a lower weight for baro to make ALTHOLD smoother without making it less accurate.

// TODO: explain remaining relevant settings

b) Using ALTHOLD with an airplane (fixed wing, fw):

As for multicopters, iNAV is not intended to use ALTHOLD controller in anything but ANGLE mode.
iNAV controls pitch angle and throttle. It assumes that altitude is held (roughly) when pitch angle is zero. If plane has to climb, iNAV will also increase throttle. If plane has to dive iNAV will reduce throttle and glide. The strength of this mixing is controlled by “nav_fw_pitch2thr”.
Set board alignment in such a way that your plane is flying level both in "PASSTHROUGH" and in "ANGLE", when you don't touch the sticks.

iNAV’s parameters for fixed wing:

  • set nav_fw_cruise_thr = 1400 # cruise throttle
  • set nav_fw_min_thr = 1200 # minimum throttle
  • set nav_fw_max_thr = 1700 # maximum throttle
  • set nav_fw_bank_angle = 20
  • set nav_fw_climb_angle = 20
  • set nav_fw_dive_angle = 15
  • set nav_fw_pitch2thr = 10 # pitch to throttle
  • set nav_fw_roll2pitch = 75 # roll to pitch
  • set nav_fw_loiter_radius = 5000

NAV POSHOLD - Horizontal position hold

For multirotor it will hold horizontal (2D) position, throttle still controls up and down movements (z-axis). You can use your roll and pitch stick to move around. The position hold will be resumed when you center the roll/pitch stick again.

For Fixedwing it will try and loiter in circle defined by the nav_fw_loiter_radius variable.

Please note that you have to use this with ALTHOLD to get a full 3D position hold!

POSHOLD = 2D position hold POSHOLD + ALTHOLD = 3D position hold POSHOLD + ALTHOLD + HEADING HOLD = 3D position hold and heading lock (ANGLE mode is automatically selected in all of the above.)

Hints for safe operation:

  • Try yawing 180 deg in PH - will instantly reveal incorrect mag operation (e.g. wrong align_mag, interference, loose cables, ...)
  • Always check POSHOLD working correctly, before you use RTH or start a WP mission.

NAV CRUISE - Fixed Wing Heading Hold

When enabled the machine will try to maintain the current heading and compensate for any external disturbances (2D CRUISE). User can adjust the flight direction directly with ROLL stick or with the YAW stick ( nav_fw_cruise_yaw_rate set the yawing rate at full stick deflection ). The latter will offer a smoother way to adjust the flight direction. If the mode is enabled in conjunction with NAV ALTHOLD also the current altitude will be maintained (3D CRUISE). Altitude can be adjusted, as usual, via the pitch stick. Both 2D/3D CRUISE modes forces ANGLE mode to be active so the plane will auto level.

RTH - Return to home

RTH will attempt to bring copter/plane to launch position. Launch position is defined as a point where aircraft was ARMed. RTH Will control both position and altitude. You will have to manually control altitude if your aircraft does not have an altitude sensor (barometer).

With default settings RTH will land immediately if you are close than 5 meters from launch position. If further away it will make sure to have at least 10 meters of altitude, then start going home at 3m/s, and land. It will disarm itself if so configured, otherwise you will have to manually disarm once on the ground.

There are many different modes for Altitude, see further down on this page

Activated by RTH flight mode.

WP - Autonomous waypoint mission

Autonomous waypoints are used to let the quad/plane autonomous fly a predefined mission. The mission is defined with waypoints, which have the information about latitude, longitude, height and speed between the waypoints. GUIs such as EZ-GUI and mwp can be used to set the waypoints and upload the mission. Cleanflight or iNav configurator are still not capable of creating waypoint missions.
Uploaded missions are saved in the FC until a reboot or a new uploaded mission erases the old one.

Once the waypoint mode is activated (NAV WP has to be set previously in the mode tabs to a specific switch/value), the quad/plane will start to fly the waypoint mission based upon the waypoints in numerical order. Waypoint missions can be restarted by switching NAV WP off/on, interruption during the mission is also possible with switching NAV WP off.

Currently up to 30 waypoints can be set on F1 boards, and 60 on F3 and better.

This mode is a work in progress, it does however work well. There is an additional wiki page further describing way point missions, tools and telemetry options.

// TODO: Explain better. // TODO: explain what happens when you are in WP mode and GPS fails.

GCS_NAV - Ground control station

This mode is just an permission for GCS to change position hold coordinates and the altitude. So its not an flight mode itself, and needs to be combined with other flightmodes.

In order to let the GCS have full control over the aircraft the following modes must be activated: NAV POSHOLD NAV ALTHOLD MAG TOGETHER with GCS_NAV

This can be combined in whichever way you want to permit example manual yawing or altitude control.

Keep in mind that if NAV POSHOLD is not combined with this mode you must combine ANGLE as the other modes are best combined with ANGLE mode.

// TODO: explain what happens when you are in GSC NAV mode and GPS fails.

right (roll/pitch) stick

Mode switch diagram

A diagram to indicate flight modes relation to navigation modes and illustrate sensor requirements:

RTH Altitude control modes

RTH sequence can control altitude in several different ways, controlled by nav_rth_alt_mode and nav_rth_altitude (the altitude in centimeters) parameters.

Default setting is NAV_RTH_AT_LEAST_ALT - climb to preconfigured altitude if below, stay at current altitude if above.

Maintain current altitude (NAV_RTH_NO_ALT)

nav_rth_alt_mode = CURRENT

nav_rth_altitude is ignored

Maintain current altitude + predefined safety margin (NAV_RTH_EXTRA_ALT)

nav_rth_alt_mode = EXTRA

nav_rth_altitude defines extra altitude margin

Predefined altitude (NAV_RTH_CONST_ALT)

nav_rth_alt_mode = FIXED

nav_rth_altitude defines exact RTH altitude above launch point.

If the multi-rotor is below nav_rth_altitude it will enter position hold and climb to desired altitude prior to flying back home. If the machine is above the desired altitude, it will turn and fly home and descend on the way.

Maximum altitude since launch (NAV_RTH_MAX_ALT)

nav_rth_alt_mode = MAX

nav_rth_altitude is ignored

At least predefined altitude above launch point (NAV_RTH_AT_LEAST_ALT)

nav_rth_alt_mode = AT_LEAST

nav_rth_altitude defines exact RTH altitude above launch point

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