Sharper Shape introduces multi-sensor payload for manned helicopters

April 30, 2018  - By

Sharper Shape, a provider of unmanned aerial utility inspection solutions, has released the Heliscope 2.0, an onboard payload system that expands the company’s aerial sensing portfolio into the manned helicopter industry.

According to the company, the Heliscope 2.0 integrates multiple sensor systems into a single, lightweight helicopter payload, capable of simultaneously collecting a range of data types required for utility maintenance and vegetation management inspections.

Deployment of the Heliscope 2.0 enables optimized inspection and maintenance schedules, offering potential cost savings in those operational activities by as much as 50 percent.

The Heliscope 2.0 also stands out with its flexible mounting configurations and ability to adapt for mounting on many different helicopter types.

For example, the system can be mounted on most Bell Jet/Long Ranger helicopters using its FAA-approved nose mount, or attached to numerous other typical helicopter models using its unique Glider aerodynamic sled.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) permits mounting the Heliscope 2.0 to helicopters by using the cargo hook found on many helicopter models; this user-friendly method is approved by FAA under a classification for gliders.

“While drones are a very flexible and safe method for performing utility inspections, there are situations where manned helicopters are the preferred vehicle to host sensors during certain utility inspections,” said Mikko Saarisalo, Sharper Shape’s vice president of drones and project lead for the Heliscope 2.0 project. “The new Heliscope 2.0 provides a solution for those situations where we need to operate over greater distances or in harsher environments than the drones can easily accommodate. This system takes our data harvesting efficiency and productivity up to a level unprecedented in the industry.”

CORE includes algorithms to automatically analyze lidar point clouds and quickly generate utility vegetation management reports. Further, its unique automatic issue detection (AID) machine vision software uses artificial intelligence (AI) to eliminate the daunting task of performing frame-by-frame image data inspection, allowing personnel to focus on other aspects of inspection compliance.

CORE applications work equally well with either Sharper Shape’s proven unmanned aerial inspection services, or with the new Heliscope 2.0 manned aircraft solution.

“The fact that the Heliscope 2.0 integrates fully with our CORE software suite is a huge benefit,” said Sharper Shape CEO Ilkka Hiidenheimo. “We can collect all the key inspection assets and measurements in one high-speed pass, and then easily pass these files to our CORE suite for automatic processing. Sharper Shape is the only company on the market that offers this range of options for collecting aerial data and for processing this data automatically into a wide range of digital report formats.”

The Heliscope 2.0 system is now available for immediate contract services in the U.S., South America and Europe.