Cleanflight is an awesome piece of software for STM32 based flight controllers. But Cleanflight has one very serious flaw that makes its usage on bigger drones at least problematic. Cleanflight sucks in GPS and barometer support. Sucks a lot. It can handle Position Hold (somehow), Return To Home (barely) and Altitude Hold (oh man, up and down, up and down) but if you at least one tried that, you should know that is not only not reliable, but also not precise and hard to tune. Personally I gave up after few tires. It was not worth it. Comparing to Pixhawk (not talking even about Naza) it might as well not exists at all. But it has changed recently….
Few months ago a brave developer nicknamed digitalentity decided to fix Cleanflight’s poor GPS support and iNav was born. What differs iNav from Cleanflight is fact that all autonomous flight modes were completely rewritten from scratch. As well as GPS, barometer and magnetometer related code. Main differences are:
- Position and altitude estimation is not done only by GPS and barometer. Advanced inertial position estimator uses accelerometer data to compute 3D position together with other sensors
- BARO, SONAR, GPS PH and GPS RTH flight modes are removed and replaced by NAV ALTHOLD, NAV POSHOLD and NAV RTH (Return To Home) modes
- ANGLE and MAG modes does not have to be enabled manually. iNav enables them in background when needed
- NAV POSHOLD mode can be configured to CRUISE submode when stick deflection controls actual speed, not drone’s attitude
- Return To Home mode also does landing (yay!)
- Return To Home can be configured as a failsafe behavior. That means, when RC link is broken, drone will try to return (and land) where is armed instead of just falling down from the sky
- Failsafe can be enabled as any other flight mode
- Waypoints! That means, drone can do missions. You program flight plan, upload it into flight controller, enable NAV WP flight mode and done. Drone will fly by itself. I’ve tried that last weekend and was really impressed
- Almost everything works out of the box. No need to tune new modes
If you have GPS equipped Cleanflight compatible flight controller I recommend to give iNav a try. It’s worth it. Specially on bigger machines. Besides, who puts GPS on 250 or smaller racer? Currently, iNav is supported on following targets:
- Naze32 / Flip32
Latest release can be downloaded from GitHub.