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Routescene maiden flight pushes boundaries

November 17, 2015  - By

Routescene has jointly developed with Hanseatic Aviation Solutions an integrated fixed-wing UAV and LidarPod solution for surveying.

Following in-depth customer research, Routescene identified a gap in the market for an unmanned aerial 3D mapping solution capable of flying long distances, particularly for use in large countries with great expanses of remote land such as Australia, the United States, Canada and Eastern Europe. The integrated solution would be used for long-distance surveys, such as powerline inspections in the utilities sector, biomass mapping of forests and geophysical surveys.

The successful maiden flight of the integrated Hanseatic S360 and Routescene LidarPod took place in July in Bremen, Germany, and demonstrated its capability by collecting sample data. German aviation authorities were so confident in the product, they gave Routescene permission to fly in the same circuit as manned aircraft.

A 3D point cloud of  the runway at Bremerhaven Airport.

A 3D point cloud of
the runway at Bremerhaven Airport.

Benefits

The LidarPod is integrated internally within the S360 itself, rather than being wing-mounted, reducing drag and enabling longer flight and survey times. Integration of the LidarPod into the nose cone minimizes noise and vibration traveling from the rear-mounted engine, ensuring the GNSS/INS is not adversely affected. It also enables more accurate positioning.

The S360 is fixed-wing and built for long-distance flights, with four-hour endurance in the standard configuration, along with long-range telemetry, an autopilot system and a mission planning tool. It works in up to Force 7 winds, extending the operational window in which surveys can be performed. Its significant payload capacity enables the integration of additional survey and geophysical sensors as well as the LidarPod. Because this is an internally integrated solution, it can be set up rapidly and is easy to deploy in the field, Routescene said.

Michael Schmidt, managing director of Hanseatic Aviation Solutions, and Gert Riemersma, CEO of Routescene, met for the first time at INTERGEO 2014. They immediately understood the potential power of a collaboration.

Routescene launched the LidarPod at that trade show. It quickly attracted wide interest and is now generating business across four continents, Routescene said.

After exploratory discussions with clients, the companies started development of the system in earnest at the start of 2015. “We have already seen significant interest from the forestry and geophysical exploration community,” Riemersma said.

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