August 5, 2015 — The Routescene® proposition to transform the approach to surveys across the world is taking hold. Collaborating with Hanseatic Aviation Solutions we have jointly developed an integrated ﬁxed-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and LidarPod® solution, which we believe is the ﬁrst commercially available product in the world.
Following in-depth customer research, we identiﬁed a gap in the market for an unmanned aerial 3D mapping solution capable of ﬂying long-distances, particularly for use in large countries with great expanses of remote land such as Australia, USA, Canada and Eastern Europe. The applications of this integrated solution are diverse from long distance surveys such as powerline inspections in the utilities sector, biomass mapping of forests to geophysical surveys.
Our successful maiden ﬂight of the integrated Hanseatic S360 and Routescene LidarPod took place July 2015 in Bremen, Germany, to demonstrate the capability of this new ground-breaking solution and to collect sample data (image of 3D point cloud showing the runway at Bremerhaven airport supplied). Indeed, the German aviation authorities are so conﬁdent in the product they gave permission for us to ﬂy in the same circuit as manned aircraft.
The beneﬁts of this fully integrated solution are impressive. The LidarPod is integrated internally within the S360 itself, rather than being wing-mounted, as may be seen with equipment elsewhere. This reduces drag which enables longer ﬂight and survey times. Integration of the LidarPod into the nose cone of the S360 minimises the level of noise and vibration travelling from the rear mounted engine, ensuring the GNSS/INS is not adversely aﬀected, enabling positioning to be as accurate as possible.
As opposed to rotor UAVs, the S360 is ﬁxed-wing and built for endurance long-distance ﬂights. In addition, it works in up to Force 7 winds extending the operational window in which surveys can be performed. The S360 has signiﬁcant payload capacity enabling the integration of additional survey and geophysical sensors as well as the LidarPod. In summary, because this is an internally integrated solution it enables rapid set up and is easy to deploy in the ﬁeld. Michael Schmidt, Managing Director of Hanseatic Aviation Solutions, and Gert Riemersma, CEO of Routescene, met for the ﬁrst time at Intergeo 2014 and immediately understood the potential power of a collaboration. Routescene launched the highly acclaimed LidarPod at Intergeo 2014, which quickly attracted wide interest and is now generating business across four continents. Hanseatic Aviation Solutions launched in September 2013 with the purpose of producing well-designed, robust and quality engineered unmanned aircraft which are easy to handle and maintain. Gert Riemersma said, “The aﬃnity between our companies and the potential was obvious. Exploratory discussions with clients conﬁrmed a real demand and we started development in earnest at the start of 2015. We have already seen signiﬁcant interest from the forestry and geophysical exploration community.”
Michael Schmidt stated, “Our combined expertise and experience is unique, Gert is a seasoned surveyor and has worked with LiDAR since 2008. He has used his wealth of practical experience with survey sensors, in particular GPS/INS, to develop the LidarPod into a market-changing survey and mapping solution. I have over 15 years experience in the aerospace and aviation industry, enabling us to jointly design and manufacture a practical and rigorous integrated product which will withstand the harsh environments we expect it will be operated in.”