Commercial Drones for Indoor Data Capture - Vtrus ABI Zero


#1

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Autonomous drones equipped with a THETA for industrial use. Collects information.

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Touchscreen Control

Automated Charging

Wireless charging automatically without human interaction.

3D Models

More information.


#2

Indoor flight! That stuff gives me the chills, thankfully they seem to have semi-autonomous flights and automated wireless charging!

I currently fly an outdoor drone from senseFly called the Albris. It has the ability to fly without GNSS assistance, but the actions of the drone become harder to predict and control. Flight time of around 24 minutes.

The other interesting thing here is that it uses 2.4ghz to communicate. Those channels in the 2.4ghz range are usually very busy, so I wonder if it suffers from data link issues. Perhaps allowing the channels to go into the 5ghz range would assist that…if there is a problem at all.

The use of the THETA is very smart! Give the software as much information about the world as possible. The Albris I fly uses ultrasonic sensors for object detection, I wonder if the combination of those technologies could yield some nice looking models.

All in all, very interesting!


#3

Thanks for this great information. We know that the THETA is used in a number of drones, but we don’t know very much about drones. It’s great to hear from people that use drones. Are you using the senseFly Albris professionally? Or, is it a hobby? It’s amazing to see the crossover between professional and enthusiast use.

I’ve primarily heard about still images from the THETA V being used for professional use, primarily for image documentation and analysis.

Would be great to hear how you’re using the albris and what data you’re collecting. I notice that their site listed thermal imaging.


#4

I see the camera on the Albris listed in the hardware specs as:

TripleView head (HD video, 38MP still, thermal)

Does “TriplveView” mean three cameras? Are the images stitched together? Is there any info on size and weight? I’m curious how it compares to a THETA.


#5

The Triple head holds three different sensors. This makes the capture of different types of data in the same flight quite convenient. Video, HD Stills, IR images. The triple head can also be tilted 180 degrees, straight up to directly down. This makes it convenient for flying under something and looking up. A unique feature for drones!

The stills are not automatically stitched together. For that you need to process the images. We use Pix4D. The IR images are stand alone and the video is MP4.

Primarily, the Albris is used for mapping and inspection. We market it as such. I am sure there are better drones out there, but I don’t currently know of another that allows you to capture 3 different types of data in the same flight.

The weight of the drone is 3.9lbs. The size is considered “mini drone”. The class of drone that can be handled by a single person. It’s probably 2.5 ft by 2 ft and 7 inches tall.

I suppose I would say the use cases are fairly niche for this particular drone.


#6

by mapping, do you mean mapping of a space with GeoJSON data? If so, how does it get the coordinates? GPS?


#7

Yeah, mapping of topographical features. Not sure if GeoJSON is used though. The coordinates are captured from the onboard GPS.

The flight planning software will help plan the mapping flight and suggest the areas where pictures are taken. Then after uploading the mission to the drone, you launch it and it carries it out. The flight mission will trigger the drone to collect an image and the location is logged in the gps.

After flight, the software geolocates the images using the gps coordinates collected. Most of the data crunching is hidden behind the curtain, so I really couldn’t say what that looks like.

I imagine that if you were to incorporate the THETA into this kind of thing you would use a similar methodology. Plan, launch, take image, note location, stitch together.


#8

Thanks for this detailed response. As the THETA does not have a GPS chip inside of it, the developer would need to add an external GPS unit. I think there are two basic strategies:

  1. connect the GPS directly to the THETA V with USB OTG
  2. connect the GPS to a small board computer computer that is connected to the THETA

The cheapest GPS unit I can find is $16, which is cheap enough.

The problem is that people will need to buy an additional board to connect it to the THETA, either a USB breakout board or something like an Arduino.

I see bunch of Arduino boards for under $8 on eBay.

Community member squizard360 produced this project that used a Raspberry Pi.