Inside Unmanned Systems

JUN-JUL 2017

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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32 unmanned systems inside April/May 2017 June/July 2017 Comparisons were made to Structure from Motion (Sf M) algorithms, which allow you to build 3-D point cloud models from multiple 2-D images. But Graham said SfM models are sur- face only and don't work with vegetation, and pointed out this makes LiDAR a better choice for specific applications like urban areas when trying to look between homes where there are voids and no 3-D elevation in areas, or when the mission requires the detection of wires. "So, if you're going to do transmission line modeling, forget it, you're going to need LiDAR," Graham said. "For these situations, LiDAR will definitely be the better choice. [Sf M is] great technology, but you have to use it in the right place." WEBINAR RECAP » MAPPING AND SURVEYING BY THE NUMBERS » PARTICIPANTS' VIEWS Beyond 3 years. 13 % 1-3 years from now. 30 % Within a year. 32 % Right now, tech is mature! 26 % Are you ready to invest in LiDAR? He summarized LiDAR by adding: Only a single ray is required to model a 3-D object point—a huge advantage over any other tech- nique such as photogrammetry. Modern scanning LiDAR systems offer very high resolution; the range precision and accu- racy are "proven." The largest contributor to high accuracy is a very high quality Position and Orientation System (POS). "This is where Applanix comes in and the reason why you must have that tech- nology to be successful," he said. Miniaturization of laser scanners and POS has enabled deployment of very high accuracy systems on low altitude drones, so these de- vices now can be put on drones. Avalanche mode (Geiger) sensors are on the verge of entering the mainstream (though noise is a huge problem that has yet to be solved). Focal Plane Array (FPA) linear mode scan- ners will probably be the market-leading technology for short range systems within five years. It's the technology that will be used in self-driving automobiles for navigation. During the webinar the audience asked questions in real time, prompting Graham to further address the benefits of using LiDAR to detect horizontal obstructions like power lines as well as vertical obstructions like cell phone towers. He noted that LiDAR works better and is more time efficient than methods such as stereo photogrammetry and Sf M. Chaponniere, who has more than 10 years of hands-on field experience dealing with geospatial information in the mineral sector, responded to a question about how quickly the information is available. "Actually, that's one of the main develop- ments that has recently been happening on the software side," he said. "The ground station can actually stream data live from the LiDAR itself so you are able to actually capture IMU data and GPS data straight on your PC com- puter on the pilot side. So, it is actually possible to get a georeference point cloud real time dis- Are you crazy, of course you can! 38 % Yes, but there are a lot of problems in application. 54 % No, the tech isn't there yet. 9 % Can you really use LiDAR in small UAS? What's your favorite LiDAR platform? Ground vehicle (just street mapping) 18 % Small UAS 53 % Large manned aircraft 25 % Backpack (I need to go inside buildings) 4 % The effects on the point cloud of this mobile mapping image of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy showcase the accuracy produced by the RiPRECISION estimation engine solution. Photos courtesy of Riegl USA and YellowScan.

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