Large area multi battery survey & loss of connection

Hi. I am in need of conducting a survey of a river in a city, and I know that the drone (Inspire 2) will lose connection at various points. What happens in this instance? Will it automatically return to home? Will it keep going until the battery runs out? I would like some very specific answers in the name of safety and also any advice that may be available from other users who have done similar projects. Thank you.

@amcbroom Not sure if this will help you, but thought I’d reply.

I have been mapping properties before where the drone has lost signal with my controller. But that was due more to signal interference rather than being too far away.

I have done other flights where there wasn’t any real interference other than distance, and I simply moved my vehicle to the area where I calculated the drone would be low enough on power that I needed to bring it down and swap batteries. This was on a standard grid map, however. How you would do it with a river is probably another story.

Is this going to be through a city? Or a river out in the open? Any mountainous areas?

It’s in a city so plenty of magnetic interference and its over a river so plenty of wet landing spots.

Will you be able to maintain VLOS during the entire flight and could potentially lose video from signal interference? Either way, the aircraft will continue its mission until a threshold is hit that you have determined in DJI Go. Make sure the RTH altitude keeps you away from any potential straight-line obstructions.

Don’t have an accident as a result of loss of VLOS. A colleague of mine in Waco hit someone’s house as a result of signal loss and the aircraft tried to auto-land 3500’ out and even though he says he could “see” it he is now the proud owner of a $900 fine and a potential lawsuit. I don’t know why anyone would want their drone to auto-land, but that’s just me.

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Michael. Can you expand on the word threshold. Do you mean max distance?

Yes I will have VLOS at all times.

Yes, max distance and your choice of action at signal loss. Whether it be RTH, hover or land.

I never leave it to the lowest battery settings. When it goes below 30% I wait until it passes a close waypoint and hit RTH in the app to bring it home. Too many variables like headwinds, distance, etc. that the drone doesn’t track doing it the other way.


Sound advice Gary. Thanks Michael for the clarification.

Very sound advice from Gary. I use the same battery change strategy - hitting RTH while it is on a short leg between flight lines so I don’t have repeat a whole line just to get a portion of it.
I would seriously consider breaking it up into several smaller flights so that you stay in contact. I have had a case on a long linear roadway job where when the drone went out of contact for 10-20 seconds and photographs were not taken during that time. It reconnected and continued the mission, but I had a blank spot that I had to go back and re-fly. I seem to remember reading somewhere on her that the app triggers the drone to take each photo so no connection, no photos.

I think that’s the plan ie breaking it up into sections. I’ve already experienced the no contact no photos thing so I’m planning the job around that.