Although lidar has always represented a strong option for surveying and mapping purposes, it hasn’t always been the most practical, especially for people using drones. In recent years, however, the size and weight of these lidar payloads has decreased enough – without sacrificing the accuracy of the scans. We are now seeing more and more options for lidar payloads, as well as partnerships between drone companies and lidar scanner manufacturers. YellowScan is one of the latter companies, with a number of lidar solutions available including the Voyager, which was released earlier this year. YellowScan is also part of a recently announced partnership with FIXAR, a drone manufacturer.
With this new partnership, the FIXAR 007 UAV will be equipped with YellowScan’s Mapper+ OEM lidar mapping solution. The FIXAR 007 is a fully autonomous, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), fixed-wing drone that is used for a number of different commercial applications, including surveying and mapping. The drone takes less than two minutes to set up and can fly up to 60 kilometers (37.3 miles) and for as long as 60 minutes.
It can also support a payload weighing up to two kilograms, which makes this partnership perfect with the Mapper+, which comes in at 1.3 kilograms including the battery (1.1 kg without the battery). The Mapper+ integrates the Livox AVIA laser scanner with a high-performance GNSS-aided inertial navigation system. The scanner is also precise to 2.5 centimeters with accuracy of 3 centimeters.
The implementation of both drones and lidar separately have been major game-changers for the world of surveying and mapping. Drones, of course, open a whole different range of possible projects, allowing surveyors to reach places that they otherwise wouldn’t for safety reasons. Lidar, meanwhile, often allows for more detailed scans as well as quicker scans. It can also capture different terrains than more traditional photogrammetry methods, being able to scan through heavy vegetation to capture an accurate digital terrain model. When combining the two technologies, there are a bevy of advantages that can be had by surveyors, and having these kinds of partnerships makes the possibilities all the more accessible.
YellowScan is one of the top lidar payload providers and manufacturers, with Mapper+ being just one of the offerings they provide. The aforementioned Voyager is the company’s newest offering, while their flagship is the Explorer, which sits in the midpoint between the other two products in terms of size and accuracy. All three can be integrated with different UAV options. Meanwhile, FIXAR’s 007 drone model is just one of the models they offer. They also have the FIXAR 025, which is used for longer range flights, and the FIXAR Indoor, which is for indoor mapping and inspection use cases and is a multi-rotor model.
On this new partnership, YellowScan business developer Julien Bo said, “YellowScan is happy to continue its tradition of working with the leading UAV developers from around the world to add LiDAR capabilities to their platforms. Our Mapper+ OEM is an efficient and affordable solution that will allow FIXAR to offer the market a complete UAV LiDAR solution. We both share a passion to innovate and set the technology bar high for the benefit of our customers.”
FIXAR founder and CEO Vasily Lukashov added, “FIXAR is glad to work with such a professional team as of YellowScan and be able to bring advanced laser scanning solution to our customers around the globe. We witness the increasing demand for aerial LiDAR equipment capable of carrying out autonomous data collection missions. YellowScan Mapper+ OEM is an excellent fit for autonomous FIXAR 007 to jointly ease complex tasks in forestry, mining, energy, and utility sectors.”