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As far as inexpensive drones ($10-$100) are concerned, 2015 was the year when almost all of them got Headless Mode. From the looks of it, 2016 is going to be the year when even the tiniest of drones come with the newest fad in town – Altitude Hold mode.

That said, there’s still some confusion in the air as to what exactly Altitude Hold on a drone means. As we usually do in out Knowledge Base series, we’ll attempt to clear that out in this post.

Altitude Hold Mode on Drones: What does it mean?

Altitude hold mode on drones allows the aircraft to maintain a (roughly) consistent altitude. This feat is achieved by analyzing pressure data provided by the barometric pressure sensor, and if installed, by an ultrasonic sensor.

Altitude hold mode on drones: Explained!

Altitude Hold Mode on Drones: How does it work?

The barometric pressure sensor is responsible for providing ambient pressure readings to the drone’s controller. These pressure readings are used to determine the altitude. The ultrasonic sensor, on the other hand, provides data related to nearby objects (essentially, data about how far the drone is from them, in this case, the ground).

Coupled with the barometric pressure sensor it can be used to precisely determine the altitude. Altitude hold mode allows the user to manually control the roll and pitch lean angles and the heading.

Unlike stabilize mode, the throttle is automatically controlled to maintain the current altitude. The climb and descent of the drone can be controlled by the throttle stick.

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Altitude Hold Mode on Drones: Problems with the feature

Problems with the Altitude Hold mode

  • Air pressure plays a huge role in determining the altitude. in case of unstable air pressure due to extreme weather, the drone might end up deviating from the target altitude. An ultrasonic sensor can be used to get better results.
  • Battery life suffers as the drone has to do more work in climbing and descending.

Altitude Hold Mode on Drones: Requirements and Affordability

Why do you need Altitude Hold mode?

As easy as it may seem, controlling a drone isn’t as easy as driving a RC car. This is because of the third dimension that’s introduced when flying a drone.

Air pressure and wind do not play that important a role while controlling a RC car, but they sure do while controlling a drone. The Altitude Hold mode provides the user a helping hand in stabilising the drone’s position. It is the best way to learn for beginners, some suggest.

Cheerson CX-10D Quadcopter Drone
The Cheerson CX-10D Altitude Hold Mode Drone

Will it break your bank?

Not at all. The cheapest and smallest one is the Cheerson CX-10D, selling at $19.99. You can find an array of such copters here.

Altitude Hold Mode on Drones: Conclusion

With component prices plummeting, it is now possible to have altitude hold on almost any quadcopter drone (and the CX-10D is testimony to that). Don’t be surprised if Altitude Hold mode happens to be a de facto standard on even the most inexpensive drones — in fact, you should expect that to happen in the coming months!

Do you have anything to add to the explanation? Feel free to do so in the comments section below!

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