New LiDAR drone announced with industry firsts

14 February 2018

Delair has been an industry leader for industrial drone solutions for a number of years now – and they’ve just announced the next generation of high-performance industrial drones with the Delair DT26X LiDAR UAV. It’s the first fixed-wing to carry the sophisticated RIEGL LiDAR sensor.

Founded in France, Delair has had the advantage of legally flying beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) since 2012. Working with regulators and large industrial enterprises – like leading energy companies – Delair has been able to develop a deep hardware and software solution for the enterprise, with long-range drones as a primary tool.

The new Delair DT26X LiDAR UAV, says the company, is “the industry’s first long-range fixed wing drone to combine highly accurate Light Distance and Ranging (LiDAR) sensing capabilities with an integrated high resolution RGB (red, green, blue) camera, dramatically increasing the precision, efficiency and cost effectiveness of surveying and 3D mapping.” The company released details of the new model at the International Lidar Mapping Forum in Denver.

Highly accurate LiDAR sensors are a valuable tool in mapping and surveying, providing detailed data on elevation even in vegetated areas. But they generally need to be used with other imagery to form an accurate 3D model, typically requiring multiple flights with separate drones – one to carry LiDAR and one to carry and RGB camera. The advantages to carrying both are clear.

“The Delair DT26X LiDAR’s combined payload of a lightweight sensor and integrated camera allows the acquisition of LiDAR and photogrammetry data in a single flight, which drastically reduces cost and immediately provides an extremely detailed digital model of the inspected assets,” says Delair. “The LiDAR sensor is specifically designed for UAV use, adding little weight or bulk to the Delair frame. The fully-integrated smart RGB camera enables real-time camera sensor control and in-flight photo review with automated quality checks.”

“The new platform delivers increased accuracy in 3D mapping and modelling of terrain and corridors in challenging physical environments (e.g. mountainous, inaccessible by road or foot, dense vegetation) and with difficult visibility, lighting or weighting conditions. Its long range flying capabilities – allowing coverage of up to 2,400 square acres, communication range of 30 kilometers and 100 minutes of flight time – improve the efficiency of aerial mapping operations over large areas,” says a company release.

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