Now that I have my Solo drone back from 3D Robotics headquarters in California I figured I would start out slow after my previous flight experience and conduct a simple hover test. The idea was to make sure that the Solo was calibrated (for level and compass) and then after take off just let go of the control sticks and see how well it maintained stable position and altitude. The results were a little disappointing.
The Solo took a short amount of time to declare “safe to fly” based on getting a GPS position after about three minutes. Even though the Solo said it was connected to an average of 12 GPS satellites throughout the 17 minute flight (I landed at 10% battery) it still drifted quite a bit at times. It moved enough that I had to reposition the ground camera because it was flying out of frame.
That wasn’t the part of the test that bothered me the most though. Any multirotor that uses GPS for positioning will drift a little bit depending on many environmental factors like number of GPS satellite connections, signal interference, and electromagnetic energy from solar storms. What concerned me is that over the course of the flight the Solo steadily gained altitude (from about 6 feet to about 16 feet), but the on screen display continued to report six feet as the altitude for the entire flight. That seems like a problem. I’ll let you watch the video and decide for yourself. What do you think?