ANAFI Ai / FreeFlight 7 - technical questions

All,

I have been lucky enough to use the ANAFI Ai for a couple of months now. Coming from the ANAFI 4K, I do have a list of questions I’m hoping someone can address. I have already been in touch with customer support, and been advised to post it here. See my slightly reformatted email to support below:

"Hello,

I have some questions, and I was directed in your direction from the official Parrot webpage. I will warn you in advance, it is a longer email than I intended, and some of the questions might be more than a bit challenging (to be fair, I was hoping to get in touch with someone at Parrot directly):

  1. According to the technical specifications, the manual shutter speeds on the ANAFI Ai range from “1 to 1/10000s”. I am not able to set the exposure time longer than 1/15 in 48MP mode and 1/30 in 12MP mode. What is the reason for this? Will it be fixed in the future? (I have had great results with low light, long exposure hyperlapses using the waypoint / GPS-lapse function on the older ANAFI 4K, as well as 360x180 panorama with similar ISO / shutter speed values).

  2. Related to the point above, when shooting panoramas in low light conditions with the ANAFI Ai, the gimbal doesn’t stop long enough to take the photos, resulting in vertical light streaks in the photos. I have not noticed this with my ANAFI 4K at even longer exposure times. I have to say that low light performance all over is (as expected) better than the ANAFI 4K, however as the ISO value increase so does the noise, and I for one prefer to spend a bit more time chasing a good result with lower noise and longer exposure time, than a grainy image (or to live with a little motion blur).

  3. Coming from the ANAFI 4K, there are a few features I miss from the new Freeflight 7 app. Will there be an implementation of the ability to export a selection / cut out from the panoramas in the future? I found this option very useful, and with the increased resolution available on the ANAFI Ai, I think this would be a great update.

  4. With PDrAW in the Parrot Ground SDK kit, I’ve found that the standard HUD doesn’t seem to display the telemetry data for the ANAFI Ai at all, even though both WiFI and 4G is available in the .json file. Will there be an update from Parrot in this regard? Also, I miss an option to change the HUD colour, sometimes green isn’t the best in terms of visibility.

  5. When touching on the subject of HUD, the HDMI output from the Skycontroller is great, but an option to add a basic (or advanced for that matter) HUD would be a good idea in my opinion. Is that something that will be looked into? Just mirroring the FF7 user interface would be a good update.

  6. I have previously used the Parrot SDK to create georeferenced 3D models from the raw video files of the ANAFI 4K. The reason this is at all possible, is because the MP4 container contains metadata for every frame in the video. Using vmeta-extract I was able to export a csv-file and subsequently tag extracted hi-res video frames with the associated GPS-data for further processing. With the ANAFI Ai Parrot has migrated to the protobuf-format, and for some reason the CSV output is no longer an option, only .json. Can anyone point me in the direction of an easier way to geotag individual frames from the ANAFI Ai video files?

  7. Since Drone Harmony now support the Parrot ANAFI Ai for mission planning (which is awesome, since they have great support for terrain follow!) I have tested their service. It is great, but it has some room for improvement - and I’m not sure what lies with them and what lies with Parrot - when creating a mission, the mission speed is set from the beginning. I would like it to be from the mapping start, since some of my areas are situated away from the takeoff / landing zone, and the travel time getting there is necessarily long (since the altitude is relative to the lift off point, there is not really a shortcut…).

  8. It is not very clear how to actually import the mavlink files from Drone Harmony to the UAV but hopefully there will be an update from either party soon. For the ANAFI 4K you would connect your device to the WiFi link with the 3rd party App and upload it directly to the UAV. Now you open / import the file exported from their website with FreeFlight 7, from either the Apple Files app or your email, and run the mission from there.

As a side note: The Parrot webpage / press release detailing the cooperation between Parrot and Drone Harmony seems to contain an error where it states that it is using the Mavlink v1 protocol, but it is actually Mavlink v2.

  1. I am super happy with the ANAFI Ai so far, but I read a lot of negative comments in forums before I got it (which is not very good, considering that it is a very new release). The most concerning one was that several users experienced that the rear propellers hit the side of the battery. I can confirm that this happens with mine as well - there seems to be a design flaw, where the rear arms locking mechanism is too weak. Will this be addressed? Will it make it suddenly fall out of the sky? For peace of mind, I designed and 3D-printed a bump stop to mitigate this issue - it works very well - and I’d be happy to share the design.

  2. Where are Parrot at with regards to the upcoming EU / C1 certification process? Is it possible to get a time estimate? Is there any news on the ability to retroactively approve the drones? Defaulting to the A3 category is very cumbersome when you live in the city.

So, yes, I guess I might just miss someone to talk to about these nerdy things! :sweat_smile:

I hope you can give me some feedback, but I understand if it is difficult to answer, and I’d appreciate it if you passed me on to Parrot directly…"

It is perhaps not too surprising that the seller passed me on to a Parrot representative directly. It is a mixed lot, some question relates to the drone itself, some to the SDK, some to the FF7 app.

Best regards,
Hans Harald Berge