LeddarTech, a provider of solid-state LiDAR solutions, says its LeddarOne optical sensor has been selected by Robota as the altimeter for the Eclipse, a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for surveying applications.
The company says LeddarOne will provide the drone’s autopilot with precise, real-time, height-above-ground-level measurements during the sensitive UAV landing phase. LeddarOne is a compact optical sensor module dedicated entirely to a single point measurement. The fixed-beam LiDAR solution can be used in various types of drones, including multi-rotors, for altimetry applications.
“Finding a small sensor with sufficient range and precision that would work in a variety of outdoor conditions turned out to be very challenging,” explains Antonio Liska, Robota’s president. “When selecting an altimeter for the Eclipse, we considered many criteria, including size, power consumption, detection range, refresh rate and reliable detection, on targets in various conditions, including snow.”
Robota’s engineers concluded that the LeddarOne’s use of a diffuse infrared LED source (instead of a narrow-beam collimated laser) delivered the necessary performance.
The sensor’s wide light beam, coupled with its proprietary digital signal accumulation and oversampling, helps smoothen the terrain measurements and provides consistent readings, especially in cases of flying over brush, bushes or tall grass. In comparison, other LiDARs using collimated laser beams tended to return variations in altitude – which may be unwanted and can mislead the autopilot, says LeddarOne.
Introduced earlier this year, Robota’s custom-made Eclipse UAV is a mapping system that can cover nearly 400 acres per 50-minute flight and capture high-resolution images with its on-board cameras. Applications include agriculture, construction, mining, and urban analysis.