Geo Week News

May 8, 2013

Atlanta engineering firm now aerial robot distributor

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Germany’s Aibotix UAVs enter U.S. market

Telecom engineering firm CCLD Technologies, Inc. said it signed a distribution deal with German UAV manufacturer Aibotix GmbH to bring its Aibot X6, a UAV with advanced, multi-sensor, intelligent guidance systems, to the U.S. market.

Based in Kassel, Germany, Aibotix Managing Director Jörg Lamprecht said his company “needs experts in field engineering and aerial inspection to show the way on how public and industrial needs can be served with UAVs.”

Atlanta, Ga.-based CCLD currently conducts airborne lidar mapping services to the telecom industry through its Fly-N-Design program using helicopter and mobile platforms equipped with sensors, cameras, and survey equipment.

Any asset or object along the running line or mapped flight path – fences, buildings, markers/signs, overhead utilities, poles, manholes, right of way and edge of pavement distances – are digitally captured.

The final delivered product can be viewed using a standard geographical information system (GIS) or a customized patented database viewer to pinpoint any profiles of contour, rivers, creeks, within a complete grid and view high-resolution images.

On average, 100 miles takes three weeks from preparation of flight patterns to deliverables into AutoCad format for construction.

UAVs are increasingly used by governments abroad for law enforcement, transportation, public safety, and disaster assessment.

Acknowledging, U.S. law continues to ban the use of UAVs for commercial use, CCLD said it is moving forward with the X6 agreement, while remaining in strict compliance with FAA regulations for UAV use, and “gearing the company up to be a day-one provider for those applications. Commercial usage will follow as soon as permissible.”

CCLD said its customers see the potential to reduce project costs “by an order of magnitude” by reducing the need for climbing teams and eliminating the hassle of scheduling expensive, piloted helicopter flights when project scope dictates.

Jobs that currently require climbers, such as cell tower, bridge and power line inspections and audits, will be vastly simpler, CCLD said.

The X6 will not only reduce the personal risk to climbers and engineers, but also provide customer-efficient scheduling and production of close-up images of a structure’s problem areas, said Brett Burke, founder and president of CCLD.

Images captured with an X6-mounted camera are superior given the robot’s maneuverability into positions giving perspectives outside the structures people cannot reach, he said.

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