Knowing how the autonomous units work today leaves us that satisfaction of having known the origin of things but also take advantage of the new advances.
It happens for those of us who knew the traditional methods of photogrammetry, and their terrible limitations; when the cycle of capturing, debugging, modeling and generating the final product took weeks, if not months depending on the coverage area. It was not possible to do it at any time of the year, the precision was limited and of course the relative costs were very high.
From the images shown in this article, the 100 hectares of the mine were captured in a time of 30 minutes in field, while the second image has only 10 minutes of rise, product with which could be generated apart from the orthophoto, curves Of level, outlines of profile, from the digital model.
Although there are many alternatives, we want to take the opportunity to make visible the work of a Spanish company that has now caught our attention. Here part of an interview:
Who are they ATyges?
ATyges is an engineering company with an area of activity for RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems), differentiated from the traditional activity of projects, directions of work and energy efficiency.
ATyges offers both the provision of the service with own equipment in a first stage of commercial action, and the sale of systems for third parties, which is the ultimate goal.
What technical characteristics does the drone have?
We like to differentiate the drone as part of a system, and not so much as a product itself. We differentiate between the "flying part", the "sensing part" and the "ground station".
The mission of the flying part of the drone is to ensure the control and quality of the flight, both semi-assisted by an operator and autonomously with a pre-set flight plan. This part has a layer for the management of energy and electrical power and an electronic layer for navigation, systems supervision and radio link to the ground station.
The sensing part is composed of the gyro stabilization board of the embedded sensor to separate its position from the flight inclinations and by the sensor itself that is embarked for the mission, being it possible to be of visible spectrum, infrared spectrum or multi / hyper spectral, Depending on the parameters to be obtained.
The ground station consists of radio data link and video for the control of the two previous parts, so you can manage navigation and sensors or simply monitor them in case of automatic flight.
The capacities and autonomy of the equipment depend on the payload that is shipped and the environmental conditions, being the usual autonomies between 15-25 minutes for standard sensors, although it is something that is customized according to the needs of the mission.
How does remote drone operation work?
There are different modalities:
- In automatic mode, an itinerary or flight plan is entered in the PC with control points, where the sensors will act and with the push of a button in the field the drone will autonomously realize the predefined flight plan.
- In semi-automatic mode, the drone maintains position and height independently, allowing you to focus on the handling of the sensors. Any movement will be managed and guided from the automatisms, it indicates the movement that the drone must make and it is in charge to make the displacement according to the desired trajectory, independently of the wind or other factors.
The operation can be done from a PC or tablet with wireless connection. The main flight parameters are sent to the ground station and to the control radio via dual channel, in order to monitor the behavior of the drone in real time.
All flight parameters are recorded in a mini-SD card in the drone for further analysis if necessary.
If someone wants to acquire a unit, what are the terms from the order to delivery?
The delivery time of the equipment is six weeks from its order, although deliveries are taking place in a slightly shorter period. While the assembly and testing of the equipment takes place, the client is going through the different phases of the user training program, in which in addition to teaching the operation of all the component parts of the system, they are instructed in the manual operation of the drone , as a last safety step in the event of automation failure or loss of the GPS signal for external reasons.
To think that my investment is flying hundreds of meters alone, causes some vertigo What guarantees does the team have?
The main guarantee of the system is its simplicity of use, since if no action is taken, the equipment remains stable in position and height in the air, independently of the external actions of the air, and it is the operator himself who instructs you to change or alter your position.
However, together with simplicity of use of the technology, safety is a primordial element, reason why are implemented redundant systems and security automatisms that in case of loss of signal, loss of motors or drop of batteries take control Of the apparatus autonomously to produce its return to the place of takeoff and its automatic landing.
All the most important parameters are continuously monitored by the operator on an LCD display of the control unit itself, producing audible and luminous warnings in case of anomaly in flight.
There are specific protocols for checking the systems before the start of the mission, and if any ground fault is detected it will not start the equipment.
The robustness of the electronics and the control systems used offer the maximum guarantee of success, and to date we have not had any problem reports in flight.
Our equipment is guaranteed on the ground in case of failure to take off by mistake or malfunction of any component.
What applications can be made to the drone in the field of Civil Engineering?
Because of the engineering character of our company in the field of construction and civil engineering is where more focus and greater systems development we have achieved.
As a main advantage to emphasize that our systems are designed to be one more tool of the technical staff and for this the automatisms and the training program are aligned, to be a simple auxiliary tool for the taking of data and not a complex tool that has to handle Very specialized staff.
Drones are used to:
- The control of work,
- Collection control,
- For aerial image viewing of 360º and,
- mainly to obtain aerial topography using photogrammetry techniques.
This way you can study works in your bidding phase, make calculations of volumes and surfaces in stockpiles, check certifications, study pathologies such as sliding of slopes and follow up.
Other engineering applications are derived from employment in sectors such as energy:
- For the control of photovoltaic parks, Thermosolar and wind,
- Control of industrial installations,
- Monitoring of hydraulic, electrical,
- Control of spills, overhaul of catenaries and power lines,
Our company wanted to offer the market not a loose product, but a comprehensive system for construction: the TOPODRON SYSTEM, For which it has signed a collaboration agreement with the University of Jaén and the research group “Photogrammetric and Topometric Systems” to improve the final product and has recently signed an agreement with the Swiss company PIX4D to provide professional software licenses PIX4D mapper together with our drones; specific software for aerial photogrammetry to obtain orthomosaics, digital terrain models, point clouds and information restored with export to CAD and GIS. In this way, the circle of offering the client a final solution is closed:
Drone Equipment + Flight Planning + Professional Photogrammetric Software
ATyges wanted to position itself in the incipient markets of the UAVs as an integrating company, offering complete solutions of the latest technology and at an affordable and affordable price, characteristics that make it clearly differentiating from other equipment and companies.
In conclusion, an interesting alternative.