Swarm Panel

The swarm panel helps you setup your drone show with all technical parts that are not the sole responsibility of the drone show designer by default, such as the initial positions, the takeoff, return-to-home or landing procedures.

Swarm panel

Drone collection

Click on the Drones button to select the collection that is your primary source of your drone objects. By default you do not have to change this setting, the Create Takeoff Grid button below will create a "Drones" collection and set it as your primary source automatically.

Any mesh that is placed in the collection selected here will be treated as a drone by Skybrush Studio, and it may adjust the constraints and other properties of the mesh as needed when performing certain operations. Make sure that there are no other objects in the collection that you select here, only the ones that you want to consider drones.

Max acceleration

The Max acceleration button sets up a maximal acceleration (in all directions) that is used by the automated motion planning functions of Skybrush Studio, for example when automatic transitions or transition times are calculated.

Create Takeoff Grid

The Create Takeoff Grid button helps you set up your takeoff and landing grid. The takeoff and the landing grid is assumed to be the same by default, but you can change them later on if needed.

Create takeoff grid

You can define the number of rows and columns, the exact number of drones and the spacing between them. Once you press OK, a rectangular grid is created with the specified parameters.

This operator also creates all Skybrush-specific collections (Drones, Formations, Templates) that you will need for your drone show, will add the first "Takeoff grid" entry to the storyboard and will also initialize your drones in the 3D Viewport editor.

Once the takeoff grid is created, you are free to modify the created "Takeoff grid" formation to re-arrange the placement of the drones using standard Blender operations, thus you can easily adapt the grid to the requirements of your specific takeoff area. For instance, if there are lampposts, stairs, power lines or any other obstacles in the area, you can move the affected drones to other positions by simply changing the takeoff positions in the "Takeoff grid" formation.

Takeoff

The Takeoff button adds a takeoff maneuver to a specified altitude and with a specified average vertical velocity from your initial takeoff grid. The start frame of the maneuver can be customized, although it is usually the same as the first frame of the scene.

Takeoff

This button should ideally be pressed right after the takeoff grid is created before any other formations are added yet. It is also possible to use the operator later after having defined the first few formations, but you must ensure that there is enough time before the first formation to perform the takeoff and get to the first formation in time.

The Relative Altitude checkbox specifies whether the altitude is interpreted relative to the current altitude of each drone (when checked) or as an absolute altitude above ground level (when unchecked). Typically you can leave it unchecked; it makes a difference only if the drones are placed at different heights before takeoff.

Skybrush requires you to specify the average vertical velocity of the drones during takeoff. This lets you gauge easily how much time the takeoff will need (e.g., taking off to 6 meters with an average velocity of 1.5 m/s takes 4 seconds), but since the drones need time to accelerate and decelerate, their maximum vertical velocity will be higher than the average velocity to compensate for the time lost during acceleration and deceleration. Make sure to take this into account in order not to overshoot the vertical velocity limits of the drones.

Return to home (RTH)

The RTH button performs a return-to-home maneuver with a specified average velocity from your last formation of the show. This maneuver brings the drones straight above the positions where they are supposed to land to an altitude that can be specified in the operator.

Return to home

Note that the maneuver is not performed at the specified altitude — it is initiated from the positions at the end of the last formation. However, all drones arrive to the given altitude value, above the takeoff grid.

This button should be pressed after all formations of the show are inserted to the storyboard, but before the landing entry is given.

It is not guaranteed that each drone will land at the same position where it took off from. In the vast majority of cases, they will land at a different position in the grid. This is intentional; safe collision-free trajectories are easier and faster to design when the software is free to choose which drone should occupy which landing position.

Land

The Land button lands the drones, starting from a given frame such that they move downwards in a straight line from their current position until they reach ground level (assumed to be at Z = 0). As usual, the average velocity of the descent can be adjusted.

Land

This button should be pressed after the return to home entry is inserted to the storyboard.