New UAV Mapping Platforms from 3D Robotics Hit the Market

3D Robotics has introduced its new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) mapping platforms, the X8-M (multi-copter) and the Aero-M (fixed-wing).

Each platform is bundled with hardware and software solutions, including a high-resolution visible-spectrum camera (Canon SX260 12 MP), protective hard-case, autopilot-controlled image acquisition, and image-processing software (Pix4Dmapper LT) by Pix4D – 3DR’s newest business partner.

The 3DR Mapping Platforms have a fully automated three-step workflow: plan, fly, process. The flight-planning software computes flight paths over a selected area to survey and calculate exactly which pictures to take and when. While in flight, the UAVs automatically capture those images and geo-tag each capture to note the exact location. 3DR says the platforms provide a level of aerial perspective that is useful especially for farms, construction sites and mines.

When the UAV lands, the user immediately has a series of images that can then be geo-referenced by the Pix4D software to automatically create a high-resolution, ortho-rectified 2D mosaic map (or 3D model, depending on chosen edition) that delivers accurate and immediately actionable data.

The X8-M, which covers up to 25 acres per flight, offers low-flying and high-accuracy mapping, with a fully redundant propulsion system for increased reliability. The Aero-M fixed-wing platform offers high endurance, with 40 minutes of flight and up to 250 acres of coverage.

With these platforms, 3DR says, operators will maximize budget and improve response time by not waiting to schedule satellite imagery or using manned aircraft to gather data.

The 3DR mapping platforms with 2D mapping capability are available for purchase for $5,400. A second version of the system offering 3D mapping technology is available for $10,400.


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