LiDAR has been around since the early 1960s. In recent years, it has emerged as a key geospatial remote sensing technology: aerial and ground-based scanners are used routinely for mapping and to produce 3D models of cities, LiDAR is an essential sensor for autonomous vehicles, and some units are now light enough to be carried by small UAVs. Most uses of LiDAR sensors require tight integration with the platform on which they are mounted. Therefore, some LiDAR manufacturers are partnering with UAV manufacturers to produce and sell complete solutions for specific end uses, such as precision agriculture, corridor mapping, or bridge inspection.
At the end of September, YellowScan, which designs,develops,and produces UAV mapping solutions for professional applications, and Quantum Systems, a spin-off of the Technical University of Munich, launched a turn-key LiDAR UAV solution. It combines the former’s Surveyor LiDAR sensor and the latter’s Tron vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) platform, which can fly up to 90 minutes and, therefore, cover large areas. According to the two companies, the UAV is designed for surveyors who need “a robust and easy-to-use LiDAR solution” with quick data processing. The Tron’s remote controller guides it automatically, but allows the operator to override the program in an emergency. The platform’s vibration dampening and secure housing protect the sensor.