Automated Drones & Hyperspectral Technology for Construction sites
AIROBOT used the AiroCore to turn a standard drone platform into an automated BVLOS drone, controlled via 4G. After power on, the drone automatically creates a secure link via 4G to a server hosted by Airobot. Only an operator with the right credentials can get access to the drone via the same server.
Via a secure remote IP connection, the operator gets access to the onboard AiroFly software. In the AiroFly software, the operator can plan a flight (e.g. a mapping flight) and monitor the drone during the flight. The drone features several cameras (front, aft, top & bottom) to give the operator a complete view of the situation around the drone.
The drone features 4 camera’s (top, bottom, front, back) to give the remote pilot full view of the surroundings. A downwards facing lidar is available to maintain a certain ground distance and to assist during landing.
Key systems like GNSS, Compass and IMU have been duplicated for redundancy purposes. Systems from multiple manufacturers are being provided by the autopilot to increase the overall reliability.
Next to the autopilot, the drone features 2 companion computers: one for BVLOS flight management and one for payload management, autoland, image processing etc.
On the AIROBOT Mapper, it is possible to have a direct secure IP link from a custom application to the payload to support custom interfaces.
Within the Comp4Drones project all tests were performed to demonstrate that the data collection can be done in a remotely operated BVLOS flight.
The drone is operated via the AiroFly application, which can be remotely accessed using a browser.
Within the AiroFly interface, the remote operator can plan the flight, view the drone’s surroundings, monitor all parameters and send override commands. Orthomosaic images generated with AiroCollect can be used as a layer in the screen to plan the flights.
A ‘Master Caution – Master Warning’ system has been implemented, similar to standard aviation. The system continuously monitors all hardware components and notifies the operator in case of a failure. A ‘Master Caution’ error, e.g., low battery, requires immediate action while a ‘Master Warning’ (e.g. failure of secondary GNSS) allows to continue the flight.
The AiroCore is a single printed circuit board that integrates the autopilot, real-time flight controllers, a payload management computer, communication technology, an industrial multi-constellation GNSS receiver and redundant power supply. It can turn any multirotor, fixed wing or VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) drone into a ‘flying robot’.
The AiroCore focuses on Beyond Visual line of sight (BVLOS) flying, via a 4G/5G/LTE network or local log range WIFI link. The professional multi-constellation GNSS receiver is crucial to offer a more robust and reliable solution.
The IMEC UAV hyperspectral payload spans visible and NIR spectral ranges (450-970nm) and offers measurements in 32 spectral bands. The sensors developed by IMEC use a unique integrated hyperspectral filter/imager technology, where the spectral filters are monolithically deposited/integrated on top of CMOS image sensors at wafer level.
The pre-processing consists of four different sub-modules. First, a demosaicking algorithm is developed to estimate a multispectral image with full spatial-spectral definition. Second, a hyperspectral image cube is created. Third, several corrections are carried out: radiometric, non-uniformity, reflectance, spectral (varying lighting conditions) and corrections coping with degradations due to vibrations.
The AiroCollect is a scalable cloud-based software to process, store and share data collected with drones. Today, users can upload RGB images, which are used to automatically generate pointclouds and orthomosaics in which they can perform measurements (volumes, surfaces, distances…) online.
Within the Comp4Drones project, AiroCollect has been updated to also load and display the different hyperspectral bands.