Launchpad: UAVs, digital twin platforms and positioning modules

May 29, 2024  - By

A roundup of recent products in the GNSS and inertial positioning industry from the May 2024 issue of GPS World magazine.


Photo: Virtual Surveyor

Photo: Virtual Surveyor

With planimetric survey capabilities

The Virtual Surveyor version 9.5 now allows users to quickly and accurately survey 2D features from UAV orthophotos and add them to the 3D topographic model generated from the same data set.

True 2D features, for example, include the paint striping that delineates parking lot spaces and road lanes. Other objects that exist in 3D on the ground but can be surveyed in two dimensions include building footprints and tree canopies. These features are designed to offer a new level of efficiency to the UAV surveying process in Virtual Surveyor.

Virtual Surveyor provides users with an end-to-end workflow to conduct 3D surveys from UAV imagery. The integrated Terrain Creator app photogrammetrically processes UAV photos to build survey-grade digital surface models (DSMs) and orthomosaics. No third-party software is needed to create surveys from UAV data. The system is ideal for users in construction, surface mining and excavation projects.

Learn more about Virtual Surveyor.

Photo: Geneq

Photo: Geneq

Positioning System
Incorporates an anti-jamming and interference monitoring system

SXblue GLOBE merges GNSS and GIS to deliver positioning accuracy, efficiency and reliability in challenging field conditions using a 448-channel GNSS board.

Its advanced multipath mitigation aims to reduce the effects of signal reflection and ensure the integrity of positioning service, even in GNSS-challenged environments. The SXblue GLOBE incorporates an anti-jamming and interference monitoring system, safeguarding against disruptions and offering uninterrupted operation in any scenario.

The system uses global or local coverage of correction services, satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS), and real-time kinematics (RTK) with an update rate of up to 100Hz. This seeks to provide users with enhanced accuracy and reliability in positioning activities. Sxblue GLOBE features a Wi-Fi connection, which allows its parameters to be easily configured via a web user interface.

Learn more about Geneq.

Photo: Golden Software

Photo: Golden Software

3D Mapping Software
With expanded visualization tools

The Surfer mapping and 3D visualization software now features upgraded 3D visualization capabilities. The upgrades are designed to give users a complete picture of collected subsurface data. The expanded visualization tools in the latest Surfer version make it easier to create 3D grid files for viewing and analysis of drillhole data.

Surfer can be used for environmental consulting, water resources, engineering, mining, oil and gas exploration and geospatial projects.

With these upgrades, users can render 3D grids as a series of blocks, which can be colorized by a select variable. Images of cross sections, profiles and other features can be imported directly into 3D View and oriented in any direction or angle. To isolate certain features in the 3D grid, users can assign NoData to portions of the grid with a variety of methods. This allows users to eliminate unwanted data in a 3D grid outside of field boundaries, well locations, or above or below specific surfaces, such as a water table, topography, or lithologic layer.

Learn more about Golden Software.

Logo: Flow Labs

Logo: Flow Labs

Digital Twin Platform
Shows roadway incidents in real time

The Flow RT is a real-time digital twin platform designed to provide agencies with instantaneous alerts and insights for better decision-making. The platform allows traffic managers to view traffic conditions, signal operations and roadway incidents in real time, at scale across entire regions.

Flow RT integrates seamlessly with the company’s solutions, including traffic signal management, roadway safety management and mobility management. Powered by connected vehicle data from industry-leading partners, including TomTom, the platform offers up to five times higher vehicle data penetration rate than the previous industry standard. Flow RT also provides alerts and notifications while offering data-driven decision support, ensuring agencies can make the best decisions using the most accurate, reliable and instantaneous insights with and without infrastructure connectivity.

Learn more about Flow Labs.


Photo: Inertial Labs

Photo: Inertial Labs

With an integrated acoustic resonance air speed sensor

Inertial Labs has integrated the FT Technologies FT743-D-SM acoustic resonance air speed sensor into its inertial navigation systems (INS).

This integration aims to improve the accuracy of horizontal air speed estimation for multi-rotor UAVs, even in GNSS-denied environments. The FT743-D-SM airspeed sensor is a digital anemometer-based solution that can estimate airspeed incoming from any direction using acoustic resonance technology, which is immune to vibration and external acoustic noise. The airspeed magnitude and direction allow the INS to estimate horizontal air speed in the longitudinal and lateral axes.

The INS receives aiding data from the dual-axis airspeed sensor and experiences significantly less position drift compared to a dead reckoning alternative in GNSS-denied environments, the company said. The system can be used in mission-critical roles in multiple military or defense applications, as well as in civilian applications such as wind energy, marine navigation, UAVs and dynamic positioning systems.

Learn more about Inertial Labs.

Photo: Telit

Photo: Telit

IoT Solution
Designed for precision applications

The SE868K5-RTK module is a GNSS receiver capable of centimeter-level accuracy. It is designed for seamless operation near cellular or other radios and is suitable for precision applications.

At 11 x 11 mm, the module’s compact form factor offers adaptability in size-constrained scenarios and easy migration within the xE868 product family. It is designed to offer high-performance navigation, even in challenging RF conditions. The solution can be integrated into applications such as wearables, UAVs, robots, fleet tracking and precision agriculture.

The SE868K5-RTK is a multifrequency and multi-constellation positioning receiver module with RTK capabilities that enhance positioning accuracy. By harnessing dual frequencies — L1/E1 and L5/E5 — the module offers improved location precision and reduces multipath effects.

In partnership with Swift Navigation, the SE868K5-RTK module utilizes local base stations or Swift’s Skylark precise positioning service for corrections, which offers reliable centimeter-level accuracy across an extensive coverage area. The integration and Telit Cinterion’s cellular modules and NExT connectivity services offer continuous and accurate correction data delivery to the GNSS module.

Learn more about Telit.



Upgraded Click Board
Now with an integrated GNSS receiver module

The Septentrio mosaic-X5 GNSS receiver has been integrated into the MikroElektronika (MIKROE) Mosaic Click board.

Mosaic Click is compatible with mikroBUS socket standard, allowing plug-and-play prototyping and reduced time-to-market. The mosaic-X5 receiver uses triple-band GNSS technology to achieve centimeter-level RTK accuracy, even in challenging environments. Its anti-jamming and anti-spoofing technology protects the receiver from malicious or accidental radio interference. It is ideal for applications where safety is a concern, as well as autonomous and mission-critical applications of systems such as UAVs or industrial robots.

The mosaic-X5 receiver tracks all available GNSS constellations and is protected by Septentrio’s AIM+ anti-jamming and anti-spoofing technology. Full GNSS raw data and positioning are delivered at a high update rate of 100Hz and with low latency, which is critical for autonomous movement and maneuvering.

Learn more about MIKROE.

Photo: Systork

Photo: Systork

RTK Positioning Module
Supports all GNSS constellations

The Linnet mosaic-X5 is a multi-band module featuring the Mosaic-X5 receiver by Septentrio. It receives signals from all major constellations and can be used both directly on the rover and as a base station. The system can achieve centimeter-level positioning accuracy and attain precise positioning even in low-coverage zones and harsh vibrations and shocks.

The mosaic-X5 module is a 448 channels all-in-view receiver that supports all GNSS constellations, SBAS and QZSS, as well as built-in on-module support for other L-band correction services. The Linnet Mosaic-X5 features anti-jamming protection and anti-spoofing built-in and embedded spectrum analyzer.

The module can be used in a variety of applications, including tracking, surveying, autonomous navigation, ground robotics, precision agriculture and machine control.

Learn more about Systork.

Photo: AEVEX

Photo: AEVEX

Dual-GPS-Aided INS
Completely autonomous

Geo-hNAV is a rugged, hybrid dual-GPS-aided INS. It offers consistent position and attitude measurement accuracy whether the platform is static or moving. The Geo-hNAV combines the Geo-iNAV INS with the Geo-Pointer dual-antenna heading system.

For stationary or slowly moving platforms, precise heading is derived from GPS measurements using two GPS antennas rigidly mounted on the platform, separated by a typical distance of 1 to 3 meters. In dynamic conditions, the combination of GPS and IMU seeks to provide enhanced position, velocity and attitude measurements. The system can be used for geo-positioning onboard sensors on static, low and high dynamic platforms such as aerostats, boats and tanks.

Learn more about AEVEX.

Photo: Hemisphere GNSS

Photo: Hemisphere GNSS

Smart Antenna
Equipped for harsh environments

The C631 is a multi-GNSS, multi-frequency smart antenna. The C631 provides robust performance and high precision in a compact and rugged package. With multiple wireless communication ports and an open GNSS interface, the C631 can be used in a variety of operating modes.

C631 can be used as a precise base station sending RTK to existing rover networks. Users can turn the C631 into a lightweight rover by connecting it to a base via UHF radio or Wi-Fi network. The built-in web user interface can be used to control and manage the receiver status and operation and upgrade the C631 with new firmware and activations.

Atlas is a global correction service that can be added as a subscription to the C631. Atlas delivers worldwide centimeter-level correction data over L-band communication satellites.

Learn more about Hemisphere GNSS.


Photo: Quectel Wireless Solutions

Photo: Quectel Wireless Solutions

5G/GNSS Antennas
For IoT devices

The YEGB000Q1A and YEGN000Q1A active GNSS L1 and L5 antennas are designed to tap into L1 and L5 frequency bands for advanced navigation applications. These antennas, operating within the 1164-1189 MHz and 1559-1606 MHz frequency bands, are designed to support a variety of installation methods, catering to diverse application needs with options for screw mount, adhesive mount, magnetic mount and various cable connections.

The antennas are part of a broader release that includes the YEMN016AA and YEMN017AA 5G 5-in-1 combination antennas, which also feature GNSS capabilities.

These GNSS antennas are crucial for applications that require high levels of navigation accuracy, such as autonomous vehicles, UAV delivery systems and precision farming.

Learn more about Quectel Wireless Solutions.

Photo: Calian

Photo: Calian

Smart GNSS Antenna
Minimizes RF impairments

The TW5387 industrial-grade smart GNSS antenna integrates the Quectel ST TESEO V GNSS receiver chipset onto the Calian compact smart GNSS antenna platform. It is designed to offer dual-band GNSS, eXtended filtering, low phase center variation, low signal-to-noise ratio and dual feed and patch for strong multi-path rejection.

The TW5387 comes with RTK rover capability and a built-in IMU for sensor fusion. It is designed to minimize RF impairments that affect the performance of the GNSS receiver and provide GNSS coordinates to the host system over a robust digital interface for noise resilience.

TW5387 is suited for automotive, UAV, robotics and defense applications that require high precision location and timing. TW5387 is compatible with N-RTK correction services such as Point One Navigation’s Polaris and Swift Navigation’s Skylark. It tracks GPS, Galileo, BeiDou and L1/L5 band operation and is housed in an industrial-grade IP69K enclosure.

Learn more about Calian.

Photo: Pasternack

Photo: Pasternack

Multi-Band Antenna
Designed for surveying

The PEANGPS1005 is an active GPS/GNSS multi band L1/L2/L5 antenna with 47.5 dBi overall gain. It is IP69K rated, light weight and designed for surveying. This GPS/GNSS antenna is suited for harsh operating environments where stability and reliability of GPS/GNSS signal is required.

This antenna operates in the 1.164-1.3GHz and 1.525-1.615GHz bands, meeting GPS L1/L2/L5, GALILEO E1/E6/E5a/E5b and GLONASS L1/L2/L3 requirements. The PEANGPS1005 antenna has an integrated LNA with 2 dB noise figure and LNA gain of 40 dB.

The antenna has an axial ratio of 3 dB and can track visible satellites under extreme conditions, which is ideal for UAV navigation, autonomous tracking or GIS surveying.

Learn more about Pasternack.


Photo: Topcon Positioning Systems

Photo: Topcon Positioning Systems

Paving and Mining Solution
Meets DOT smoothness standards 

The MC-Max asphalt paving and MC-Max milling solutions offer modularity, simplified configurations and advanced feature sets to increase productivity in asphalt paving and cold milling applications.

The MC-Max Asphalt Paving and MC-Max Milling systems, which are made up of , total stations, displays and other high-precision sensors, are built with the new MC-X machine control platform. Users can choose from entry-level 2D systems that follow a reference, such as a string or a curb, or automated solutions that track a paver or miller in 3D.

Contractors can pave and mill at variable depths while meeting smoothness standards mandated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) smoothness standards. The solutions also include MC-X licensing options. The technology is compatible with OEM CAN-based systems and has expanded to include compatibility with additional aftermarket systems.

It is equipped with Topcon Virtual Ski intelligence software designed to simplify workflows in specific resurfacing applications, such as rural roads where there are fewer fixed points or intersections to match up to.

Learn more about Topcon Positioning Systems.


Photo: FlytBase

Photo: FlytBase

Reality Capture Platform
Generates detailed 2D and 3D models

This UAV reality capture platform collects data through FlytBase UAVs and generates detailed 2D and 3D models on SkyeBrowse, a UAV reality capture platform.

The platform uses SkyeBrowse’s videogrammetry technology to quicly convert UAV video footage into 2D maps and 3D models, making it ideal for emergency response scenarios where rapid documentation is critical. The platform integrates seamlessly with beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) systems, enhancing both the speed and quality of data-driven strategies in critical operations.

Learn more about FlytBase.

Photo: Event 38 Unmanned Systems

Photo: Event 38 Unmanned Systems

Now featuring a 360-degree camera option

The E400 fixed-wing VTOL ISR UAV now features a 360° camera option. Partnering with NextVision, the Event 38 UAV now offers a range of EO/IR Gimbal camera options for seamless integration with the E400 platform.

NextVision’s gimballed EO/IR cameras capture visual and thermal imagery and video. The UAV provides live streaming directly to ground stations for continuous monitoring capabilities.

The 360° EO/IR camera integrated onto the E400 ISR can be used for search-and-rescue missions, suspect pursuit, emergency management and disaster response. The E400 ISR, built with a military-grade carbon fiber frame, offers durability for rugged field applications and allows for extended flight durations without the need for frequent recharging. It is suited for surveillance and security applications. It features electric propulsion and minimal noise emissions for discreet flight operations.

Learn more about Event 38 Unmanned Systems.

Photo: Kongsberg Geospatial

Photo: Kongsberg Geospatial

Enhanced BVLOS System
Offers situational awareness to UAS operators

IRIS Terminal now features Echodyne radar technology designed to enhance Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) applications.

The integration seeks to provide situational awareness to UAS operators by visualizing all airspace movement, cooperative and noncooperative, to ensure safe and reliable UAS operations.

IRIS Terminal, now in its second generation, has been adapted from its defense origins to the enterprise UAS sector for visualizing airspace traffic, as well as controlling uncrewed systems in its GCS format. Airspace traffic is visualized inside IRIS Terminal’s multiple viewing configurations, along with features such as detect-and-avoid (DAA) sensor footprints, terrain awareness and potential conflict warnings.

Learn more about Kongsberg Geospatial.

Photo: Sony

Photo: Sony

Upgraded UAV
With integrated lidar technology

The Inertial Labs’ RESEPI lidar remote sensing payload instrument GEN-II has been integrated into Sony’s Airpeak UAV.

The partnership seeks to enhance Airpeak’s ability to produce detailed aerial maps and 3D models.

Tailored for professionals, the lidar system integrated into Sony’s Airpeak UAV will significantly enhance workflow efficiency and data accuracy, particularly in sectors such as construction, agriculture, and filmmaking, according to Inertial Labs. The system allows for extensive data handling and facilitates longer durations of data collection without frequent offloads. The UAV can be used for surveying, mapping and cinematic videography.

Learn more about Sony.