Inside Unmanned Systems

APR-MAY 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 AIR SENSORS LiDAR USA has developed a lightweight LiDAR specifically for unmanned aircraft that is capable of getting centimeter-level results. by Kevin Dennehy Photos courtesy of LiDAR USA S ystem integrators around the world are on the hunt for low cost, high perform- ing, high accuracy airborne solutions to meet the rapidly growing unmanned aircraft system (UAS)-based LiDAR market. Yet, a mo- bile LiDAR mapping system configured for a UAS at a reasonable price point seems just out of reach. It requires a few vital components—in- cluding IMUs, GPS receivers and LiDAR sen- sors—that are all lightweight and small and all connected. Historically, it's been a complicated, costly combination. What every system integrator wants in a com- mercially available, mobile LiDAR solution for a UAS is a fully integrated solution that provides full attitude, heading and position in static and dynamic conditions…for several thousand dol- lars instead of tens of thousands of dollars. Sounds crazy right? Not so fast. Industry innovator and CEO of LiDAR USA, Jeff Fagerman, seems to believe the challenge is less about technology accessibility and more about creative integration, and he's proven it with the recently released ScanLook Revolution mobile scanning solution. INS Incentives To take advantage of UAVs for the booming aerial survey and mapping market, Alabama- Hovering in High Performance UAS-based LiDAR Space based LiDAR USA looked to several INS and GPS offerings to deliver its lightweight (1 to 1.6 kg) ScanLook Revolution that was introduced in fall 2016. "A year ago, among UAVs, there were myri- ad choices. But the choices were difficult. We needed to build a system that was smaller as the larger systems were $25,000 to $65,000," Fagerman said. "Weight was a huge factor as at the time it was 840 grams for a LiDAR puck alone [and] that didn't include the cable." So Fagerman went on a quest. He and his team worked with several companies to try to get the size and cost down on the inertial navigation system in particular—and found a partner with VectorNav. Jakub Maslikowski, director of sales and marketing for Dallas-based VectorNav, said LiDAR USA reached out to his company in early 2013. "They [LiDAR USA] have a good picture of the market and what everyone's of- fering. At the time Jeff [Fagerman] reached out to us, we had our VN-100 and VN-200 in- ertial navigation solutions on the market," he said. "The VN-200, in particular, offered key capabilities including the necessary accuracy and weight to meet some of his needs." The VN-200 inertial navigation system in- corporates 3-axis accelerometers, 3-axis gy- Top Left: The Altus UAS LRX with the Snoopy A-Series LiDAR Systemform LiDARUSA. Top Right: A-Series Scanner with HD32 mounted on a DJI S1000.

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