New Platforms and sensors

Currently, new UAS platforms and sensors are released at an impressive pace. Especially small, lightweight cameras and easy-to-use, out-of-the-box UAS platforms are among the key innovations. Our 3DR Solo quadcopters are part of these new generation platforms and have proven great reliability. They also carry two exciting new sensors: the Parrot Sequoia multispectral camera and the FLIR Vue™ Pro R thermal camera.

Sequoia multispectral image aquired at Fowler’s Gap Research Site (NSW)

The Parrot Sequoia has the size and weight similar to a GoPro but comes with four spectral cameras (green, red, red-edge, and NIR), an RGB camera, GPS/IMU, and an irradiance sensor. The FLIR Vue™ Pro R has a handy live view feature and saves calibrated temperature data with each image pixel. Both sensors are promising tools for our vegetation studies. The images shown were aquired during a UAV Workshop in Fowler’s Gap (NSW).

FLIR Vue Pro R orthomosaic

FLIR Vue Pro R orthomosaic aquired at Fowler’s Gap Research Site (NSW)

Our latest addition on platforms, the DJI Matrice, is designed for carrying heavier sensor payloads up to 6kg. It will carry our more complex sensor systems such as the LiDAR, the hyperspectral push broom scanner, and the highly sensitive spectroradiometer. The Matrice’s maiden flight went well.

Drones in a Cold Climate

Dr Guy Williams recently published a paper on “Drones in a Cold Climate” for EOS Magazine, describing some of the challenges of operating UAS in polar conditions. His photo of a DJI S1000 over pancake ice in the Southern Ocean made it on the front cover. The article can be found here.