Integrating aerial reality capture
Author: Monica Miller Rodgers
Even just a decade ago, mapping, inspecting or any other type of surveying from the air would have been unheard of in the industry. Today, though, using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has become almost standard for various geospatial applications, such as volume calculations, powerline inspections and as-built documentation. UAVs are even making appearances in accident investigations, special effects development and other non-traditional applications.
UAVs have several benefits, such as reaching difficult areas and increasing safety, and capturing a unique perspective of any project with great accuracy. An UAV, though, is only as good as its ability to integrate into the overall workflow for the entire lifecycle of a project. This thought is at the centre of Leica Geosystems’ latest aerial reality capture solution.
Introducing full integration for complete understanding
Leica Geosystems has recently announced its latest UAV, the Leica Aibot. After entering into the UAV market in 2014 with the acquisition of Aibotix, a pioneer in professional UAV systems, Leica Geosystems, with its early market entrance, has learned many lessons in developing aerial reality capture solutions and applied that earned knowledge to its latest offering.
“As we revamped our UAV program, we focused on integrating entire processes into one comprehensive Leica Geosystems ecosystem,” said Valentin Fuchs, Leica Geosystems UAV program manager. “From surveying to inspection, the Aibot solution enables user to operate in one workflow while still offering open source compatibility.”
The complete workflow uses the M600 PRO by DJI, an industry leader in UAV manufacturing, while the software and sensor integration comes from the trusted Leica Geosystems offerings of Infinity for surveying, Cyclone for laser scanning processing, third-party 3D Reshaper for point cloud processing, and eventually ConX for construction. From flight planning to execution followed by processing with integration from other reality capture instruments to analysing, the user will end with an actionable data set. In less time with less costs, the comprehensive and innovative interface keeps the user in a familiar environment throughout the entire workflow.
Personalised solutions for segments
The new UAV solution has been developed with segment professionals in mind, and it will be released in two versions:
- Leica Aibot SX
For surveyors working to capture infrastructure and assets, the Leica Aibot SX specifically works within a workflow that combines other surveying technologies, such as total stations, laser scanners and GNSS.
- Leica Aibot CX
For construction professionals on site, the Leica Aibot CX provides a level of accuracy previously unknown in the industry to capture a transparent view throughout the construction lifecycle of planning, designing and constructing.
“Professionals in surveying and construction have differing criteria, but what they do have in common is the need for quick access to accurate data,” said Fuchs. “With solutions designed to their particular needs, while also keeping our overall commitment to easy visualisation and digitisation of results, the new UAV solution has a unique place in all workflows.”
Fuchs also confirms more segment personalised UAV solutions are in the works. As these solutions continue to develop with the professional in mind, including UAVs in projects will become even more routine. Inside of one common interface, operators will find more efficiency and accuracy to grow their businesses and gain an entirely new perspective.