md in the News

High-End UAV meets High-End LiDAR- As Seen in Business Geomatics


As Seen in Business Geomatics, October 2018

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With the mdLiDAR3000, Microdrones introduces a new, integrated surveying solution based on a high-performance 3D scanner. The total weight is 14 kilograms.

Laser scanners integrated with drones can generate high-precision 3D point clouds that precisely represent terrain features and man-made structures. Up until now, however, there have been few products on the market in which a professional grade LiDAR was mounted under an equally matched UAV. In practice, photogrammetry-based drone applications have been more common. Now Microdrones, the pioneer in the area of fully integrated mapping UAV systems, has launched a solution that closes the gap in the high-precision laser drones market. The new mdLiDAR3000, which is based on the md4-3000 aerial platform, has a RIEGL miniVUX-1UAV LiDAR as well as Sony RX1RII for recording color values of points. Overall, it has a take-off weight of 14 kilograms and a flight time of 20 minutes. 

The achievable colorized point cloud density is: 

  • up to 35 points per square meter at a flying altitude of 80 m and a speed of 6 m/s and
  • up to 130 points per square meter at an altitude of 40m and speed of 3 m/s.

The standard scan angle setting is 56 degrees, but can be adjusted up to 80 degrees.

This expands the mdLiDAR series from Microdrones. The rapidly-growing global company had already introduced a smaller laser-based solution last year with the mdLiDAR1000. That model has one integrated laser scanner made by the manufacturer Sick; it is lighter and is intended as an entry-level UAV LiDAR solution. 

The integrated laser and camera technology on board mdLiDAR3000 is oriented towards high end requirements for data in the areas of construction, mining, and engineering, as well as surveying and research. Company President Vivien Heriard-Dubreuil says that “the industry is demanding faster and more effective methods to capture elevation data with the greatest precision”.  Another feature of the mdLiDAR3000 is that all components of the solution are carefully integrated to perform together. This applies especially to the flight control, which can run on full automatic, and the mission planning, which makes real-time monitoring possible. The integrated position sensing by the Applanix APX-20 is intended to guarantee the best achievable positional accuracy. Recording data requires less overlap to achieve the required accuracy levels. The solution also includes the mdLiDAR Processing Software, tailored to the entire system for creating the corrected and accurate 3D point clouds. 

Dr. Mohamed Mostafa, head of the mdSolutions (product development) at Microdrones, notes the importance of combining a high-performance scanner with an aerial platform that not only facilitates heavier payloads, long flight times and high altitudes, but also has the necessary flight stability and safety that such a high-end sensor requires. He explains, “The team has been working intensely for three years on this solution; distributors and end users are excited. This is the aerial LiDAR system that geomatics and construction professionals have been asking for and I’m proud to be a part of the company that’s making it real.”

Microdrones has a busy sales, marketing and events season underway and the system can be seen at Intergeo 2018, Hall 12.0 | 0D.065

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