Inside Unmanned Systems

JUN-JUL 2019

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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13 June/July 2019  www.insideunmannedsystems.com  unmanned systems inside was completed in the offi ce through AutoCAD and Google Earth before the team moved on to building fl ight blocks through the mdCockpit so ware. The ability to pre-build the blocks before stepping foot on site is just one of the ways using the mdLi- DAR1000 saved them time. Once on site, the two-person team fl ew the mdLiDAR1000 at 50 meters with 60 percent lateral overlap. It used the same takeoff and landing locations for each fl ight, generally com- pleting multiple fl ights from the same spot so the crew could monitor the UAS without having to move around. Alignment waypoints were used at the beginning and end of each fl ight block to make sure trajectory and orientation are accurate dur- ing post-processing. The team also used a feature called terrain follow to en- sure the drone stayed at a consistent height above the terrain throughout the fl ight, Tucker said. This was critical to making sure the data stayed consistent when outputting point cloud or imagery and creating the deliverables. The mdMapper1000DG workfl ow was basically the same for the fl ights that collected the ortho imagery, except the drone fl ew bigger fl ight blocks at 120 meters with a lateral and forward overlap of 70 percent, Tucker is key in top wind extraction for imagery. A Faster Process When it was time to start the project, the team left offices in central Arkansas on Monday morning and arrived on site about 1:30 p.m. Because the mdLiDAR1000 is so easy to use and set up, three f lights could be completed by the end of the day, Tucker said. The remaining 10 LiDAR f lights were finished the next day. On Wednesday, the team started set- ting up the ground control points for the mdMapper1000DG, though fewer were needed because of the system's direct georeferencing capabilities, which precisely connects aerial images to their geographic positioning on the Earth's surface. A rain delay precluded f lying that afternoon, but when the weather cleared on Thursday all nine ortho f lights could be completed. "We fl ew the entire seven-mile corridor for imagery in one day," Tucker said. "That's an average of one fl ight per hour and that includes set up, tear down, take-off , landing, actual fl ight time and moving from location to location up and down the corridor." The team then spent Friday morning running initial checks on the LiDAR and imagery collected to ensure the fi eld crew had the information it needed. In all, the project took 50 hours to complete—including travel time and delays. Processing took about two days, with another two days to complete the deliver- ables. So a er just nine days, Cra on Tull was able to give the client exactly what it was a er. Using conventional methods, this project would have taken about 12 working days in the fi eld, Tucker said. The drone com- pleted that part of the project in fi ve. With the drone, the design fi rm saved the client 66 percent in fi eld work costs, which Tucker found is consistent with other projects completed via drone. Savings typically run between 40 and 70 percent, depending on the size and location of the project and the assets the client needs. Improving Eff iciencies This is just one example of how the integrated systems from M icrodrones have improved ef f iciencies for t he Craf ton Tull team, UAV Sur vey Coordinator Jeff Dav is said. With the system customers can improve safet y, reach once in- accessible areas and cover more ground in one day. The mdLiDAR1000 can cover about 200 to 250 acres per day, and 450 to 500 acres with the mdMapper1000DG . Projects that once took several weeks can be completed in a day or two, and this improved effi ciency is certainly something clients have noticed. "The quality of the data that we're seeing is unparalleled," Davis said. "We get multiple returns with the LiDAR so we can penetrate the canopy and get some lower vegetation and we get ground data as well. We've worked with other UAVs in the past but what we're seeing from the Microdrones integrated systems is superior. Since we've been using the mdLiDAR1000 , we've gained several new customers and clients who are giv- ing us repeat business. The investment has defi nitely been worth it." " We've worked with other UAVs in the past but what we're seeing with the Microdrones integrated system is superior. Since we've been using the mdLiDAR1000 we've gained several new customers and clients who are giving us repeat business. The investment has definitely been worth it." Jeff Davis, UAV Survey Coordinator, Crafton Tull and set up, three f lights could be completed by the end of the day, Tucker said. The remaining 10 LiDAR f lights were finished the next day. On Wednesday, the team started set- ting up the ground control points for the mdMapper1000DG, though fewer were needed because of the system's direct georeferencing capabilities, which precisely connects aerial images to their geographic positioning on the Earth's surface. A rain delay precluded f lying that afternoon, but when the weather cleared on Thursday all nine ortho f lights could be "We fl ew the entire seven-mile corridor for imagery in one day," Tucker said. "That's an average of one fl ight per hour and that includes set up, tear down, take-off , landing, actual fl ight worth it." " We've worked with other UAVs in the past We've worked with other UAVs in the past " We've worked with other UAVs in the past " but what we're seeing with the Microdrones The mdLiDAR1000

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