Inside Unmanned Systems

JUN-JUL 2016

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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12 unmanned systems inside   June/July 2016 AIR HARDWARE f lies two 25-minute f lights for each mission. The data enables Briggs to regularly monitor the change at various time intervals and see how the morphology of the beach is evolving. "The UX5 is different than traditional drones. It's a fixed wing product, that allows us to cover a much greater area at a much higher speed than we could with a quadcopter based design," Gammack-Clark said. "We can cover our study area in a practical timeframe in a practical number of missions." Some higher-end systems can handle even longer missions. "One of the big differentiators (between entry- level and more advanced systems) is the flight time," said Matt Bethel, director of technology at the survey firm Merrick and Company. "The lower end systems have shorter flight times and a much higher frequency of launch and recovery, more opportunities for issues with that, whereas the higher-end systems will fly many more times longer than the lower-end systems—sometimes up to an hour and a half." Integrated or Al la Carte? Professional UAS are designed and engineered to work as one system, said Mike Hogan, busi- ness development director for microdrones. That is the biggest difference, he said, between platforms like the md4-1000 and the soon-to- be released md4-3000 and more basic models. Microdrones and other professional systems aren't made of a motor from one manufacturer, an autopilot from another and a frame from an- other. Everything is built to work together for better performance and a smoother workflow. Among the components that make a sys- tem a good choice for survey and mapping are the stability of the platform, the stability and quality of the camera, the f light planning software and, the data processing, said David Snyder, applied geospatial expert for Trimble. "All components have to work well together," he said. "The UAS market is still relatively new, and there have been a huge number of people who were fairly good at remote control air- craft, so they tried to find a way to make mon- ey with their hobby. Putting cameras on the aircraft and taking video was one of the first things done. When it comes to producing maps with these images, a lot of the builders of these systems don't have the history or knowledge of what makes a good aerial imaging platform." Singer pointed out that the integrated solu- Last year, microdrones worked with a cli- ent to complete a DAM INSPECTION. The inspection was necessary to plan for future engineering work but the dam was diffcult to get to, microdones' Business Develop- ment Director Mike Hogan said. The team at microdrones few the MD4- 1000 over the dam 11 times from different angles and was able to generate the accurate data required for the engineering work as well as a 3D model of a majority of the dam—without anybody putting themselves at risk traveling to the dam by boat, Hogan said. The company also worked with APPLANIX to INTEGRATE A DIRECT GEO-REFERENCING CAPABILITY on the md4-1000. "We were able to confgure two different payloads in support of that application," Hogan said. "Not a lot of multi-rotors have that precision mapping and the abil- ity to swap payloads. And in this case we were operating about four meters above the water. Not every system could handle the fight conditions we had." SUCCESSFUL DAM INSPECTION "YOU DON'T WANT TO USE A UAV THAT WAS DESIGNED TO BE A TOY or something to play with. You have to use professional equipment to get a good quality product at the end." George Southard of GSKS Associates, a geospatial business consulting frm

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