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Autopilot Auto-Docking

Discussion in 'General' started by Hemp Plan[e]t, Nov 27, 2017.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. Hemp Plan[e]t

    Hemp Plan[e]t Apprentice Engineer

    Hello I can remember the Remote block was working fine long time ago and i was sending drones in a cricle docking fly away again, etc. Also collision avoidence was working fine i guess.

    Now i tried to make a drone autodocking few months ago and today. I still fail at it. the RC block is in the center of mass and the drone has thrusters on every side(tried in space, earth, mars, ....). I played around (speed, more coordinates) much hours now and i can't get it working.

    So i don't saw any nice autodocking video since ~2015, but i saw many people failing with autopilot since longer time now. Maybe we're all stupid or there is something broken.

    Don't hate me for my english <3

    U're aware of it?

    I would love if Keen can give us a feedback on this since the autopilot seems pretty broken a while now.
  2. halipatsui

    halipatsui Senior Engineer



    When you attempt to make automatic docking take into consideratiln that:

    Rc block tries to reach the gps point you assigned for it.

    This means that if your rc block is located to center of the craft then center of the craft tries to ram itself to the connector.
    Which it cant do with collisil avoidance on.

    Correct approach:
    Place rc blovk right behind the connector for optimal accuracy.

    Put gps point right in front of the connector.

    Move away absolutely perpendicularly from the connector. Place 2-3 ALIGNING gps points to make sure your craft approaches in the right angle(distance varies on your ship size). Disable collision avoidance and drop speed to minimum during these approach points.

    You can also try to create a funnel with connector at the bottom where your ship is dropped to or is pulled via gravity generators.

    I would try those 2 ways if i were facing the same problem.
  3. Hemp Plan[e]t

    Hemp Plan[e]t Apprentice Engineer

    I tried all this. Aswell i am making 5 Align-GPS points. I make the gps points while controlling via RC block. Collision Avoidance just tried it bc it's spinning around sometimes, but not matter what i try, it does not work.

    Why it can't just work like back then? :(
  4. halipatsui

    halipatsui Senior Engineer

    Did you try repositioning the rc block so its near the connector?
  5. Ronin1973

    Ronin1973 Master Engineer

    I created some drones for the pirate faction a few months ago that could auto-dock with multiple stations on a planet. Here's what I remember. Disclaimer: some functionality may have changed since I tried this!

    Collision Detection: if it is on, you can't dock with the remote control. You can always use the waypoint actions to turn off collision detection before the final approach. To avoid other ships, I would use a sensor block while docking... that way I can exclude the station from detection. You'll also want to use fine control.

    Planetary grids: If the point you're docking to is too close to the ground, the drone will refuse to endanger itself by getting too low.

    Block placement: The remote control block HAS to be at the center of mass so the ship will properly align. The CONNECTOR should be mounted right under the connector facing DOWN. If both conditions aren't met, your drone may just spin around and around.

    Connectors: You have to be able to spam the "lock" feature when the drone gets near to the connector. A timer block in a loop spamming the "lock" feature on the connector works. To disengage, simply turn off the timer block and unlock the connector.

    Waypoints: it's good to build your waypoints BACKWARDS from the ideal docking position, then a few meters ABOVE the connector, then a third waypoint that's a safe distance away from the station. The drones hauls a. to the third waypoint and slows down, it then slowly makes its way to the hover point above the connector, and then finally down to the connector. It's also good to have a fourth point that's an EXIT point that keeps drones that are leaving away from those that are coming in. Waypoints can also be used to trigger anything a timer block would trigger: lights, sensors, reconfiguring the remote block, turning OFF the autopilot (when docked) etc.

    In order to dock then fly away, you'll probably want to involve a programmable block. It can be done with a series of timers, but that's another subject.
  6. Soup Toaster

    Soup Toaster Apprentice Engineer

    Alright, here's a guide for setting up a Remote block for day-to-day autopilot needs. These examples use SMALL BLOCK ships, but everything should be true for large block as well.

    On Planets:

    - Make sure you have at least one down thruster. I often don't since gravity takes care of that, but the remote isn't smart enough to know it can use gravity to go down so you need at least one or the remote won't work right.

    - Put your connector on the ships bottom facing down, you can easily put your bases connector facing up in the surface of your landing pad. This will allow you to most easily autopilot the ship in to dock from any direction.

    - Make sure your remote block is facing forward in the same orientation as you have the ships cockpit. Put your remote block directly above the center of the connector. It doesn't have to be sitting directly on top of the connector, it's okay if it's a ways above for instance if you have a large conveyor system. It just need to be somewhere above it's center.

    - Jump in the cockpit of your ship, fly it over and dock it to the landing pad connector but DON'T lock it down. Now go into the Remotes settings and hit "Control". Don't go anywhere yet just make a GPS marker, I'd name it something like "Earth Miner Dock".

    - Now fly straight up for a ways until you are higher up than any other structures on your base so that your ship won't crash into anything on it's way in. Make another GPS marker, I'd call it "Earth Miner Dock Approach".

    - Go into the Remote's settings and add both those to the waypoint list. It flies to the GPS marker at the top of the list first and works it's way down, so set the list accordingly.

    - Set the ship to "Forward" direction, "Precision Mode" ON for gentler docking, and Flight Mode to "One Way".

    - Add a timer block, I call it "Timer - Dock". It waits 2 seconds, then locks the ships connector. That's it. Now go into the remote settings and set the "Earth Miner Dock" GPS marker action to start the timer when it reaches that waypoint.

    DONE. Now when you are somewhere out on the planet with a load of ore in your miner, make sure you have a clear line of sight to the "Earth Miner Dock Approach" GPS marker, then turn the autopilot on. It should fly to that marker, stop, descend to the dock marker, and the autopilot should shut off. The timer will wait 2 seconds, then lock the connector and you're job is finished.

    That's all it takes to set up your mining ship to fly home.

    NOTE: I also use a timer to start the autopilot because my ships usually have 6 to 8 backwards thrusters and when the autopilot is flying it puts these thrusters at 100% power. Oddly this has NO EFFECT on it's ability to fly forwards. The problem is that this uses a huge amount of power, so I use the timer to shut half my front thrusters off to keep from maxing out my batteries.

    On Moons:

    I've experimented very little with this on moons, though I did notice the one time I tried to set it up on the Moon it worked very strangely. It was an all Ion ship of course, but no matter what the distance was, it's maximum speed was about 15-20mps. Sorry I can't be more help.

    In Space:

    This is actually pretty easy once you get it set up working on planets, same basic principles.

    - Your connector set up is going to need to be a little different to dock with your space bases connector. In space there is no "up" or "down" like on a planet to keep your remote oriented, so the connector needs to be in front of the remote blocks face, still centered.

    - Make a GPS marker when it is at the dock and ready to lock, called something like "Space Dock".

    - Back STRAIGHT away from the connector 50 meters or more and make another called "Space Dock Approach".

    - Add the GPS markers to the remote like on planets, add a "Timer Dock" the same too.

    Now when you're ready to come home, make sure you have a clear line of sight to the "Approach" GPS and start the autopilot. It'll fly to the Approach GPS, turn and fly to the Dock GPS in perfect alignment for the connectors to grab each other. The timer should lock the connectors and you're done.

    On Traveling Between a Planet Surface and Space:

    The key is that even though you want to go UP into space, do NOT set the remote blocks direction to "up". Just leave it in "Forward".

    - Put in your space docks GPS marker in as the destination, then turn on the autopilot. Your ship will NOT tip up to face the orbital GPS marker, the ship will stay level with the horizon as long as it is in a gravity field.

    - Once the ship hits zero-G it will turn so that the remote faces the GPS destination and fly forwards to it.

    - As long as you just leave it in the "Forward" direction, going to and from space is a snap.

    Hope you folks find this helpful.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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