Delair drones mine for data

April 1, 2020  - By

When Trimble sold its Gatewing fixed-wing drone business to Delair in October 2016, its decision was based on several drivers. Trimble had worked with Delair since 2008 and knew their capabilities; the company decided that a dedicated drone company should be better placed than a GNSS manufacturer to find and develop leading-edge drone business. Also, the sale enabled Trimble to better focus on integrated UAS software technology for positioning, remote sensing and photogrammetry. Delair joined up with Microdrones, a supplier of multi-rotor UAVs, to round out the team’s offerings. Both companies are skilled in the application of Trimble UAV software.

Typical Delair drone applications include rapid data gathering using the UX11 fixed-wing drone, followed by data analysis leading to highly accurate survey-grade results.

For the Johnson Poole and Bloomer (JPB) mine sites, personnel safety was an important driver in moving away from having people on the ground collect data, sometimes in dangerous situations. Time and cost savings have now become the norm for JPB survey operations, particularly for stockpile volume calculations.

With the UX11 flying at 400 feet for 40–45 minutes, up to five times each day, it is possible to collect thousands of photos of many acres — ending with an accuracy of around 1.7 centimeters.

The UX11 drone is equipped with a high-precision Septentrio AsteRx-m2, providing post-processed kinematic (PPK) multi-frequency, four-constellation signal reception. The AsteRx-m2 is also low power and low weight.

Another mining operation using Delair drone survey and analysis tools is Luck Stone in Virginia. With numerous quarries in Maryland and Virginia, Luck Stone produces aggregates and more than 75 crushed stone, sand and gravel products for civil engineering, private construction and environmental projects. Luck Stone also finds that inspection staff safety is significantly improved, as is the time for such inspections, and asset inventories are not only accurate but also can be undertaken quickly and much more often.

Delair has just released a new agriculture system with the fixed-wing Delair UX11 Ag, along with the Delair Aerial Intelligence ( processing system. An integrated and easy-to-use workflow has been developed to collect, manage, analyze and share agriculture data for crop health monitoring, field experimentation analysis, automatic machine guidance, precision ag practices and better crop traceability.

The new system makes use of PPK for precise auto-geolocation. The UX11 Ag drone carries a fully integrated high-grade multispectral camera for the data collection and monitoring of plant health. supports tools that provide visual field maps, identifying plant health by chlorophyll content, green biomass, stoutness/visual health and other plant indicators. The drone enables spray prescription preparation to counter weeds, disease and pest infiltration. UAVs also make it possible to determine the effectiveness of treatment regimes.

In addition, Delair has developed the DT26 fixed-wing series of longer range drones for two-hour lidar survey flights and for surveillance; it can be adapted to carry other customer payloads. The DT26 uses an Applanix/Trimble GNSS receiver.

Delair customers also use their drones for power-line inspections and in the oil and gas industry for site preparation surveys and pipeline inspections. The UX11 was the first drone from a Trimble partner to provide a JXL file for processing UX11 data in the Trimble Business Center.

Featured photo: Delair/Trimble