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Leica, Aibotix, and Headwall Offer Airborne Sensor Solution

October 13, 2014  - By 1 Comments
The Airbotix X6.

The Aibotix X6.

Leica Geosystems, Aibotix and Headwall Photonics are offering an integrated high-performance airborne sensor solution using a hyperspectral imager and the Aibot X6 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The Nano-Hyperspec sensor is optimized for size, weight and power to enable aerial acquisition of all spectral and spatial data within the scene of interest. A UAV with integrated Headwall sensor has been successfully flown and was presented at InterGeo 2014, held last week in Berlin.

Precision agriculture, forestry, geological research, and environmental monitoring are application areas that can benefit from the airborne hyperspectral imaging solution, the companies said. Equipped with the hyperspectral imager, the Aibot X6 can, for example, take pictures of fields or vineyards to determine the chlorophyll content, plant health, and invasive species, and offer farmers information on the state of the plants and harvest. By means of UAV and hyperspectral imager, farmers can measure before harvest, where the grain is driest or should be mowed first. Or, they can determine where rain has washed away fertilizer and where they must re-fertilize.

For geological mapping, landfills and open mine sites can be overflown to quickly and efficiently track precious metals or minerals. Environmental monitoring and research to derive contamination of soil or water can be determined spectrally from the air quickly using the Aibotix UAV and Nano-Hyperspec sensor.

The Nano-Hyperspec sensor measures 76.2 x 76.2 x 119.4 millimeters and weighs less than 0.68 kg. The sensor is integrated with a high-speed data processor and high-capacity flash storage. It collects image data across 640 spatial bands and 270 spectral bands with a Visible-Near-Infrared (VNIR) range of 400-1000 nm. The field of view is exceptionally wide, meaning that flight swath efficiency is maximized to cover as much territory as possible while the UAV is aloft. Further, it delivers crisp image data not only directly underneath the flight path but off to the edges.

The integrated data storage is 480 GB, which will yield more than two hours at a frame-rate collection rate of about 100 fps, which is matched to the actual performance of the UAV itself. The direct-attached GPS with IMU yields the ability to generate ortho-rectified imagery data products.

The Nano-Hyperspec comes pre-loaded with an airborne version of its Hyperspec III application software that manages sensor operation, image acquisition, and sensor performance while aloft. Hyperspec III software is designed to work in a complementary fashion with the GPS/IMU as well as incoming LiDAR data to collect spectral data and generate a completely integrated hyperspectral data cube.

Tracy Cozzens

About the Author:

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.

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