DroneDeploy released Live Map, calling it a first-of-its-kind feature that allows any drone operator to create real-time maps in the field with their iOS device. Users plan a flight, take off, and see maps render on-screen during flight, without the need for internet or cell connection.
Users no longer need to experience image upload and processing times traditionally required with mapping and photogrammetry software. They get an aerial view of their jobsite, field, or project in seconds, which enables them to make real-time decisions.
Since the original Live Map inception, mobile devices have doubled in computational power, allowing DroneDeploy to improve map quality 400%. www.dronedeploy.com
Aerial geospatial solutions provider Icaros has selected the TatukGIS Developer Kernel (DK) to develop the next-generation geospatial data viewer component of its OneButton software product, which is used to process raw aerial images collected from manned and unmanned aircraft into readily usable GIScompatible maps. The Icaros OneButton product is used by some of the largest private and government organisations worldwide operating in a range of industries. Icaros collaborated extensively with TatukGIS on the early development and prototyping of the DK based version of the OneButton Viewer application.
Geomni, a Verisk business has launched its new mobile app for ground imagery and UAV or drone, inspections. The app enables users to collect imagery and other data directly with their mobile devices or to conduct complete UAV inspections with compatible DJI drones.
The Geomni mobile app enables iOS smartphones and tablets to act as remote sensing devices that can capture images and other data. This groundbased imagery offers unique views and angles, complementing imagery and data captured from aircraft and satellites. www.geomni.net
DroNepal recently conducted several hydropower mapping projects in remotes areas of rural Nepal to test the potential and feasibility of using drones for surveying.
Nepal is planning to develop hydroelectric dams to help power its economy and export electricity to neighboring countries. Nepal’s Department of Electricity Development has issued licenses to nearly 400 private companies for surveys and electrical generation projects. Last year, DroNepal was named the winner of WeRobotics’ first Business Incubation Program..
Delair has introduced the next-generation of its high-performance DT26X Lidar UAV. It is a long-range fixed-wing drone that combines highly accurate lidar sensing capabilities with an integrated high-resolution RGB (red, green, blue) camera, dramatically increasing the precision, efficiency and cost effectiveness of surveying and 3D mapping. The Delair DT26X lidar’s combined payload of a lightweight sensor and integrated camera allows the acquisition of lidar and photogrammetry data in a single flight, which drastically reduces cost and immediately provides an extremely detailed digital model of the inspected assets.
TEOCO launches UAV service enablement platform for drones
TEOCO has launched AirborneUTM, a Service Enablement Platform for UAVs. Designed to support the next generation of IoT Services delivered via drones, the platform combines Airspace, Radio-Signal- Space (3D radio coverage), environmental data (wind and weather), as well as cost and regulatory information to enable, optimize and operate autonomous flight plans and missions.
Autonomous UAV operation requires 3D radio connectivity for command & control, communication, authentication and tracking. Wireless operators are perfectly positioned to provide these capabilities, as they have been providing them for the past 25 years in 2D environments. Now it is time to expand to 3D. www.teoco.com
PrecisionHawk has announced a duo of acquisitions as the commercial drone company looks to build the biggest network of commercially licensed drone pilots in the U.S.
The two startups that have been bought by PrecisionHawk are Rhode Island-based Droners, a platform dedicated to helping drone operators hire licensed drone pilots specializing in aerial photography; and Ontario, Canada-based AirVid, which serves as a platform for finding all manner of drone pilots dealing in photo, video, cinematography, surveying, mapping, and more. https://venturebeat.com
Wingtra’s high-precision drone sets a new benchmark in photogrammetry
Swiss UAV manufacturer Wingtra has set up a new benchmark in large-scale surveying and mapping applications, with the launch of its WingtraOne PPK (Post-Processed Kinematics) drone. The UAV can deliver orthomosaic maps and 3D models with an absolute accuracy down to 1 cm (0.4 in). With the latest upgrade, WingtraOne PPK can offer broad coverage and high resolution at ultra-precise accuracy.
Zürich based Daedalean aims to bring full “level-5” autonomy to the personal electric aircraft of the near future. Daedalean’s engineers apply insights from modern robotics, deep learning and computer vision to build an autonomous guidance system that meets the highest bar (DAL-A) for safety critical aerospace systems (DO- 178C, DO-254 and DO-160G). Their product provides visual based guidance and navigation intended to enable both unmanned operations and personal transport certified for Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions.www.uaventure.com
Cyberhawk completes UAV inspections on 63 platforms for Dubai petroleum
The rationale behind Dubai Petroleum’s use of UAVs was to quickly complete detailed inspections of all their risers. Risers are traditionally a difficult area of an offshore platform to inspect; in the under deck and the splash zone, options for access, such as abseiling or scaffolding, are limited, extremely time consuming and very expensive.
Using UAVs as a scanning tool, the high-quality reports produced by the Cyberhawk team allowed the client to plan contact-based inspections or repairs. Additionally, now that a full inspection has been completed on all risers, defects can be tracked over time to understand their long-term degradation. www.thecyberhawk.com
A start-up founded by former Google drone engineers, Adam Bry and Abe Bachrach, Skydio has developed a self-flying camera that makes aerial photography a hands-free task, according to a CNBC report. The UAV uses computer vision and other types of artificial intelligence to fly itself, follow and record a subject down below. What’s rather interesting about the UAV is that it doesn’t require any sort of piloting or camera skills.
The report quotes Bry saying, “This technology is like what’s being used in autonomous vehicles, in many ways. But of course, we had to develop this to deal with the general 3D motion of flying, and the lack of structure that goes with road systems.” Unlike DJI’s market-dominating drones, the Skydio R1 is operated without any controllers. Instead, users launch the Skydio iOS or Android app, and tap the screen on their mobile device to tell the R1 who to follow. www.cnbc.com
A team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory(CSAIL) has developed NanoMap, a system that allows drones to consistently fly 20 miles per hour through dense environments such as forests and warehouses.
One of NanoMap’s key insights is a surprisingly simple one: The system considers the drone’s position in the world over time to be uncertain, and actually models and accounts for that uncertainty.
Specifically, NanoMap uses a depthsensing system to stitch together a series of measurements about the drone’s immediate surroundings. This allows it to not only make motion plans for its current field of view, but also anticipate how it should move around in the hidden fields of view that it has already seen.
The team’s tests demonstrate the impact of uncertainty. For example, if NanoMap wasn’t modeling uncertainty and the drone drifted just 5 percent away from where it was expected to be, the drone would crash more than once every four flights. Meanwhile, when it accounted for uncertainty, the crash rate reduced to 2 percent. http://news.mit.edu
Lockheed Martin launches unmanned vehicle control software
Lockheed Martin software has been simultaneously flying, on average, at least six unmanned aircraft during every hour of the last 25 years, completing missions as diverse as reconnaisance, inspection, mapping and targeting. Recently, VCSi, a new vehicle control software, as the culmination of more than two decades of experience and 1.5 million hours of operational use was launched.
VCSi is a safe and reliable software platform that can be adapted to any vehicle – from one you can hold in your hand, to a 50,000-pound machine; from a vehicle that flies for a few minutes, to a vehicle that flies for months at a time. The user can integrate as many vehicles as required to complete their missions, including boats, quadcopters, fixed-wing aircraft or even high-altitude pseudo satellites. Across commercial or military missions, VCSi is adaptable to the challenge and further extends the power of the humanmachine team. www.lockheedmartin.com
Airbus Helicopters’ parcel delivery drone completes first flight demonstration
Airbus Helicopters’ Skyways unmanned air vehicle has successfully completed its first flight demonstration at the National University of Singapore (NUS). The drone took off from its dedicated maintenance centre and landed on the roof of a specially designed parcel station where a parcel was automatically loaded via a robotic arm. Once successfully loaded with the parcel, the Skyways drone took off again and returned to land, demonstrating its automatic unloading capability.
This inaugural flight demonstration follows the launch of the experimental project with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) in February 2016 to develop an urban unmanned air system to address the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of the air delivery business in cities such as Singapore. The collaboration was subsequently extended in April 2017 with Singapore Post (SingPost) becoming the local logistics partner to the project.
Airbus Helicopters is at an advanced stage of the Skyways project. The research and development phase is progressing well, with equipment and facilities installed at the NUS campus. Campus students and staff will be able to make use of Skyways to have small parcels between 2kg and 4kg delivered to designated parcel stations within the campus, which is the size of 150 football fields. www.airbus.com