DJI Wookong PluginsWritten by Jonathan Malory
One of the most exciting things for me about DJI is they're always working on improving their flight systems and adding extra functions.
This includes tweaking the firmware of the flight controller to make your multi rotor fly better and do more things, as well as inventing/creating new hardware that plugs into your existing DJI Wookong unit.
DJI Wookong View WKM Data Link
The data link is basically a receiver and transmitter that sends data to the ground, so you can see it on a laptop, netbook or tablet. The data link transmits all kinds of information, such as speed, height, positions etc, but its main use is for plotting waypoints for autonomous flight.
Autonomous flight means you download a map of your location and stick virtual pins with height settings at various points on the map for your DJI Wookong multi rotor to follow. Basically, your hexacopter etc will lift off from the ground, fly a predefined route, then come back and land without any interaction from you other than the setttings you programmed into your computer and sent, via the data link, to your machine.
I haven't done this yet myself, but it is a tool I intend to add to my toolbox at some point in the future. It would mean I could fly around an object or landmark in a very precise manner, while pointing my on board camera at the subject the whole time. That's what I'd use it for, but others may fly grid patterns over areas to create surveys, or you could plot a course around a race track or mountain bike trail... well, you get the idea, there are a number of possibilities.
DJI Wookong OSD
I have one of these, which I bought here: DJI Wookong OSD at quadcopters.co.uk.
An OSD, or On Screen Display, is nothing new - I already use them myself for my planes - and are basically an overlay that is transmitted with a video signal from your multirotor machine down to your ground station TV screen or video goggles, the kind of thing fighter pilots have on their cockpit screen.
An OSD will typically tell you height and speed and battery level and a few other things depending on the manufacturer. They are very useful, especially if you intend flying any kind of distance as you can easily get lost - an OSD will also point the way home. Yes, you can use the autopilot failsafe to fly home, but sometimes you just need to know which direction to go to get back to yourself normally, while still filming. This is often useful if you're in the countryside as those fields can look very similar from a couple of hundred feet in the air.
The DJI Wookong OSD is especially made to be integrated with your DJI Wookong system, so it will give you more specific data than can be obtained from your DJI controller, as well as height, speed, distance from home and virtical climb rate.
Since I've started using this things have been a lot easier. The one aspect that I find very useful is the up or down arrow which tells me if I'm climbing or descending. In the past, with my multirotor at high altitude it has been very difficult to see if it is coming down or not, both using FPV and line of site, and there is always a temptation to drop the throttle further until you can tell you're falling, which sometimes meant I found myself falling a lot quicker than I thought by the time I got near the ground.
The DJI OSD not only confirms that I am coming down, but also tells me the speed at which I am losing altitude so I can speed up or slow my descent with much more confidence and with less risk.