Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 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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43 unmanned systems inside October/November 2017 ENGINEERING. PRACTICE. POLICY. Trimbles's BD940 and BD992. usual in the industry, Lenz said. "I don't think there's anyone else in the market who has that at the moment." Then there's the BD990. "We had a very strong board before in our portfolio which was called the BD970," Lenz said. "This is the next generation, our f lagship product ef- fectively." The upgrade is the new Maxwell chipset, going from Maxwell 6 to Maxwell 7. "So we're supporting 336 channels," Lenz said. "Maxwell has been fairly future proof for our customers in the past, and now we have the next generation." The boards have not been altered, so for prev ious customers it's a simple plug-in replacement. In terms of GNSS, Trimble is now support- ing pretty much every satellite navigation constellation including the GPS, GLONASS, QZSS, NAVIC, Galileo and BeiDou systems. "We also have some RF spectrum moni- toring capabilities," Lenz said, "so if you're a system integrator you can analyze the board and tweak it accordingly so it performs bet- ter. So for example you can add a really de- cent antenna to it and you have the monitor- ing tool available so you can tune the board to maximize performance for your specific application." Lenz said he sees lots of potential in the au- tonomous and UAV markets, where precision navigation and guidance is key. "When you look at today's UAV market, ev- erything is still line-of-sight, where you have a drone and an operator creating a topographic map or digital terrain model. With things changing over time with regulations, appli- cations will go to beyond-line-of-sight and to drone f leet management." Omar-Pierre Soubra, Trimble's director of marketing communications, said he sees a trend toward greater sensor fusion. "We will see a lot of our customers going towards that integration of more and more sensors, but they will start with the GNSS and inertial." Microdrones Keeps Pushing Trimble's footprint is broad, as evidenced by its huge presence at InterGEO, encompassing many subsidiaries, collaborators and partners. One such partner is Microdrones, a French UAV company. The company's president, Vivien Heriard Dubreuil, has very clear views about where his company is going. "I think the future for us is definitely LiDAR, and it's not only, you know, attach the LiDAR under the drone. It's really about providing a complete solution." That means, he said, adapting the mission preparation software and the f lying platform and then maintaining a presence during flight operations to see that all goes according to plan—right through to data production. Microdrones recently brought in Mohamed M.R. Mostafa as its new director of mdSolutions. " THE FIRST ONE IS THE BD940. "IT'S A SMALL FORM-FACTOR BOARD AND IT COMES IN THREE FLAVORS: WE HAVE THE BASIC LEVEL BOARD; THEN THERE'S A VERSION WITH INERTIAL; AND THERE'S A RUGGEDIZED, ENCLOSED VERSION." Elmar Lenz, general manager, Trimble "My team is developing, maintaining and upgrading different solutions," Mostafa said, "and by solutions we include getting closer to Microdrones' clients and helping to improving their skill sets. "We are also working on the LiDAR that Vivien mentioned. It's really the next big thing at Microdrones." Once it's out, he said, and that will be fairly soon, it will be the world's only end-to-end LiDAR solution. "This includes the drone, there is the scanner, a georeferenc- ing tool, inertial GNSS, as well as the software, hardware, firmware, workflow for data produc- tion and map production." One of Microdrones' biggest business moves last year was to become the preferred provider of vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) solutions for the Trimble dealer network, Microdrones

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