Auto Focus-Before-Pictures in Hammer

Overview

Hammer is an adaptive flight automation platform the commercial drone industry. We support a large number of mission types on both mobile tablets through Hammer App and Desktop environments through Hammer Hub.

Whatever your use-case, Hammer can adapt to it.

Camera Auto Focus

Commercial inspection flights are not always easy. There are many details to consider when inspecting an asset — what space is accessible to the drone to fly around the asset of interest? What camera angle, zoom level and resolution would yield the best results? One common challenge is to ensure that the captured pictures are not out of focus. While this is easier to ensure in a mapping style flight at a constant altitude, this can be quite a challenge in inspection flights. Therefore, we’ve introduced auto-focus capabilities within Inspection missions (Roof Inspection and Vertical Inspection) offered by Hammer.

Workflow

To enable auto-focus before pictures in Hammer, simply switch it on while configuring your mission. For a roof inspection mission, this option can be found at the bottom of the mission settings:


Focus-Before-Pictures in Roof Inspection Missions


Enabling this option would ensure that the drone stops at every generated point, focuses the camera and then takes a sharp picture of the target asset (a roof in the above example) The same option can also be found and enabled in the vertical inspection mission:


Focus Before Pictures in Vertical Inspection Mission


Best practices


  1. Winds: We recommend using the auto-focus option on a day with low winds. This is because the drone can take a lot longer to position itself on every point in high winds, which can interfere with focusing the camera and taking the picture. Currently, Hammer will instruct the drone to take a picture 1s after positioning itself over a point, and attempts to focus the camera in between.

  2. RC signal: For this option to work correctly, it’s important to maintain an active connection between the drone and the remote controller. An active connection is not required for the drone’s overall flight, only to focus the camera as the drone positions itself on the photo point.


Results To compare the results, here are 2 pictures of a roof inspection. The first image did not have focus-before-pictures enabled and the second image did. As you can see, the mission with focus-before-pictures yields better results:



Unfocused Roof Image







Focused Roof Image





images credit: Ocuair


Conclusion

Focus-Before-Pictures is an easy way to automate your camera’s auto focus and capture sharp images that can be zoomed in later to observe in greater detail. If you currently do not have access to Hammer, feel free to sign up for a 14-Day free trial of the Hammer platform.

If you’d like to learn more about other missions supported in Hammer, please visit our mission tutorials or get in touch with us at team@hammermissions.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

— The Hammer Team

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