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Editorial Feature

Increasing mapping efficiency with multisensor UAV

Words By: Drone Major

Eng. Phd Daniele Camatti – CEO of Pro S3 Unmanned Technologies – [email protected] –

Mapping operations with small UAV has become more and more popular thanks to the increased quality and variety of available sensors as well as the possibility for the user to map predefined areas with the desired quality at the proper time. On the other hand, evolving regulations have defined more precise requirements and obligations to be fulfilled before starting a UAV activity, especially if in proximity of urban and populated areas.

After those premises, it becomes clear that the efficiency of any UAV operation plays a key role in achieving the global success of the complete task.

Some specific mapping activity like crop monitoring requires quite high numbers of sensors to be used in order to achieve a good multispectral survey. Hi-resolution visible, near infra-red and thermal are just some and non-exhaustive example of different type of sensors needed for a good and comprehensive survey.

The majority of the UAV nowadays available are capable of carrying just one sensors at a time, requiring the operator to repeat flight as many time as the number of sensors needed to complete the survey. Addenda, the needs of swapping the sensors on the field is something tricky, especially considering the harsh environment this activity has usually to deal with. 

That’s the reason for multisensors UAV, where more than one sensor can be installed on the vehicle at the same time, as per customer requirements. In order to achieve this goal, the vehicle structure and layout has to be specifically designed to host all sensors in the proper position, provided with power supply, GPS reference position and automatically triggered from the autopilot.

Wavesight UAV, designed, developed and manufactured in Italy by Pro S3, features the possibility to carry up to three sensors installed in three different position on board of the vehicle. Two root wing sensors bays are suitable to accept nadir point fixed sensors, while the fuselage forward bay features multifunctional capabilities allowing to carry big optical full frame cameras as well as retractable gimbal turret.

Assuming a standard flight endurance of 1 hour, the total carrying capability exceeds 1 kg. Considering nowadays sensors performances and features, Wavesight allows multiple efficient and performant combinations (GSD @400ft AGL – 450 ha per flight):

  • Full mapping: 42 MPX full frame visible + 2x 5 bands multispectral giving 2,5 cm/pixel RGB image and 8 cm/pixel multispectral on the 444,475,531,560,650,668,705,717,740,842 nm bands
  • Search and rescue + mapping: daylight (20x optical)/thermal (1024x768) turret with target tracking + 24 MPX nadir camera + 5 band Multispectral giving 720p day light/thermal video stream, 4 cm/pixel RGB image, 8 cm/pixel multispectral on the 444,531,560, 668, 740 nm bands
  • Many other combinations are possible.

    Wavesight is a fully autonomous platform, with temperature compensated IMU, laser altimeter sensor; it is launched by a pneumatic catapult and lands on the belly on semi prepared terrains.

    Pro S3 s.r.l.

    Via Torre Pellice 17

    10156 Torino – ITALY