Rice Associates Inc., a geospatial services firm based in Manassas, Va., and its business partner, Navigator CS LLC, recently acquired a senseFly eBee RTK unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to enhance their surveying and photogrammetry capabilities.
Navigator CS – a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business with headquarters in Leesburg, Va. – provides a range of construction management services and holds a commercial drone exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration. Navigator CS will be the primary pilot of the co-owned eBee RTK.
Since announcing their business partnership last year, the companies have been performing proof-of-concept flights and obtaining aerial images in support of surveying and mapping projects.
“The eBee RTK is senseFly’s survey-grade mapping drone,” explains Charlie Rice, past president and corporate quality control manager of Rice Associates. “For specific projects, the need for ground-control targets can be reduced – and, depending on the project requirements, may be removed altogether.”
The UAS also has a built-in global navigation satellite system antenna and senseFly’s eMotion and PostFlight Terra 3D (powered by Pix4D) software – which can plan the mission and process the aerial images, respectively.
“Our current quadcopters are excellent for vertical flights that require hovering-in-place capability, pictures of vertical surfaces, and development of point clouds and buildings and other structures,” says Paul Beckwith, president of Navigator CS. “But the quadcopters have shorter flight times and consequently cover smaller areas. Each aircraft has its niche, and we are very excited about adding the capability to fly close to 40 minutes on a single battery charge and cover such large areas.”