LIDAR Survey

Aerial MOB utilizes the latest in drone and LiDAR technology. LiDAR is an acronym for Light Detection And Ranging, a laser-based system of scanning and capturing high-resolution digital spatial data that can be used for surveying and geospatial applications.

What kind of data comes from LiDAR?

In a word: pointclouds.  A LiDAR device uses lasers to measure a distance from a sensor to an object.  Multiple lasers can be used to take multiple measurements at the same time.  By spinning multiple lasers on a mechanical stage, LiDARS have the ability to take 3D data.

Below is an example of a singe revolution’s worth of data from a Velodyne lidar scanning an electrical sub-station.  Not only can measurements be made of the infrastructure, a vegetation survey can be performed to measure how close vegetation are to objects being measured.  This measurement is very precise.  When precise measurements are made of the position of the drone, and the orientation of the sensor, each point can be ‘geo-located’.  In this way high definition 3D models of the world can be created in real time.

LIDAR Example

What are LiDARS used for in the ‘real world’:

  • Autonomous cars
  • High precision surveys
  • Geo-location of image data
Velodyne LiDAR car.
LiDAR has been used extensively to automate cars. The same Velodyne LiDAR we have been flying is used on many autonomous car systems.
Velodyne LiDAR's are some of the best, and lightest in the world. They were used extensively in DARPA's different robotics challenge.
Velodyne LiDAR’s are some of the best, and lightest in the world. They were used extensively in DARPA’s different robotics challenge.

The combination of LiDAR scanning technology with an aerial deployment platform allows for extraordinary efficiency and speed for gathering accurate spatial data to support asset management needs for numerous industries, such as power generation and transmission, oil and gas, pipeline, rail and transportation, architecture and engineering, and others.

Project Highlight: LIDAR Example using drones, power lines & gas pipelines.

A drone flying a motion stabilized, gimbaled LIDAR was used to gather dense measurements of an electrical distribution substation.  LIDAR data was taken of a gas pipeline main shut-off valve, as well as the main power distribution line for the city being surveyed.  Safety and protocol were strict (as with all our industrial inspection work with drones).

[vimeo-master]

What are the benefits?

The benefits of Drone mounted LIDAR are many and varied including:

  • Generating more detailed point clouds than from high altitude, denser data points
    • The higher density of data collected provides a much more detailed 3D view
    • Allows for oblique angles, rather than downward scans from fixed wing aircraft
    • Collects data from different angles to minimize beam-shadow effects
  • Avoids exposure of personnel to awkward, dangerous and hostile environments
  • Reduces time in the field
  • Collates accurate, detailed measurements from the air, which are more difficult to achieve with conventional surveying
  • Enables increased visibility in difficult to penetrate terrains such as forests
  • Can be used below cloud cover