Inertial Labs’ INS rock powerline inspections with UAVs

March 26, 2021  - By
Image: Inertial Labs

Image: Inertial Labs

Lidar and photogrammetry payload maker Rock Robotic has finished development of its new Rock R2A payload. Featuring the Livox Avia lidar scanner mounted on an aluminum enclosure, the R2A is light enough to fly on the DJI Matrice 200 and 210 series (versions 1 and 2), Matrice 300 RTK, Matrice 600 Pro, Freefly Alta X and many custom platforms.  

A major factor in Rock Robotic’s success has been its use of Inertial Labs’ inertial navigation systems in its payloads. The Rock R2A uses the INS-D-OEM, which features temperature-calibrated and precisely aligned tri-axis micro-electromechanical accelerometers and gyroscopes. 

With 20 years in the position, navigation and timing industry, Inertial Labs has been able to develop hardware solutions integrating many different types of sensors to ensure accurate time synchronization among independent data packets, resulting in a guaranteed high-performing system-level solution.

These high-quality systems and components, paired with a robust onboard Kalman filter, result in trajectories with heading accuracies of 0.03 degrees and pitch-and-roll accuracy of 0.006 degrees. These values directly affect point-cloud accuracy, which for the Rock R2A means a system accuracy of 5 centimeters or less. 

The advent of drone lidar payloads has had a profound impact on industrial inspections such as for powerlines, saving labor costs and improving safety. The multiple return method of scanning with the Livox Avia and excellent position and orientation accuracy from the INS-D-OEM ensure that the R2A provides a highly dense and accurate point cloud for powerline classification.

“The Inertial Labs team has a deep understanding of the whole navigation technology ecosystem,” said Rock Robotics CEO and Co-Founder Harrison Knoll (known on YouTube as Indiana Drones). “This has made their products offer world-class performance and maintain easy integration and interoperability with GNSS receivers and onboard computer systems.” 

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.