WaveSense Uses GPR for Autonomous Vehicle Location

WaveSense uses ground penetrating radar – GPR to create a reference map of the subsurface conditions below the pavement of a highway. This can be accomplished because the return GPR signal creates a unique electromagnetic signature.

From an article in Motortrend.

image of WaveSense Uses GPR to Develop Unique Highway Subsurface highway and GPR Signal

WaveSense Uses GPR to Develop Unique Highway Subsurface Signature

Waymo, which recently launched its autonomous ride-hailing service in the Phoenix area, is betting big on traditional sensing technologies—including cameras, GPS, radar, and those super-expensive spinning lidar sensors on the roof.

These Waymo cars are essentially beta-testers, which means they are not fail safe. (Remember Uber?) If Waymo happens to have an accident and the fault is found to be with the sensor array, it’s a safe bet Waymo won’t be able to blame a blizzard or pea-soup fog.

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NASA Launched Two Lidar Sensors to Monitor Biomass

Forest monitoring has increasingly turned to satellites over the past several decades, and 2018 was no exception. In the last few months, NASA launched two sensors into space that will play a prominent role in monitoring forest biomass and structure over the next decade: the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) now attached to the International Space Station, and the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2).

Image of forest NASA Launched Two Lidar Sensors in 2018

NASA Launched Two Lidar Sensors in 2018

From an article in Mongabay.

These two satellites, which in combination provide complete coverage of the planet, are equipped with lidar sensors that record forest structure in 3D, contributing to an ongoing wave of large-scale forest ecosystem measurements.

Researchers and forest managers working to record and reduce the rapid loss of forests are now armed with a new tool to monitor vegetation across the globe. In December 2018, a SpaceX rocket launched the NASA-engineered Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) sensor up to the International Space Station to gather data on the structure and extent of forests.

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Posted in 3D Modeling, Agriculture, airborne LiDAR, Environmental, Forestry, GIS, Government, Lidar, Mapping, remote sensing, Research, satellites, Sensors, topography | Tagged , | Leave a comment

World of Concrete Kicks Off Tuesday in Las Vegas

If you love construction like I do, then the World of Concrete in Las Vegas, NV is the place to be next week. Standards for the use of 3D laser scanning to measure concrete tolerances are being addressed.

ACI logo World of Concrete

World of Concrete

The annual World of Concrete conference, running from January 22-25 will attract 60,000 visitors and 1,600 exhibitors.

I will be making a short presentation on some work that I have been doing for the American Society of Concrete Contractors and the American Concrete Institute involving the use of 3D laser scanning to measure concrete tolerances.

One of the major challenges in using 3D laser scanning is accuracy. The tolerances for concrete floor slab flatness and levelness in the booming world of constructing fulfillment centers are very tight, like an 1/8″ to 1/4″. That does not leave much room for all of the other elements of the error budget, nor does it take into account the issue of having the survey control be an order of magnitude better than the laser scanner survey.

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Posted in 3D Modeling, AI, artificial intelligence, BIM, Business Development, computer vision, Conferences, Construction, Digital Transformation, Infrastructure, intelligent cities, Laser Scanning, Lidar, machine learning, Mining, Robots, Sensors, Software, Standards, Surveying, Surveying Engineering, Technology, The Industry, UAS, UAVs | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Rain on Lidar Sensors – What is the effect on Performance?

This paper looks at the influence of rain on a lidar sensor using a mathematical model to predict the degradation of the performance.

graphic Rain on Lidar Sensor Fusion - Analog Devices Inc.

Rain on Lidar Sensor Fusion – Analog Devices Inc.

Among the many challenges involved in the development of safe, reliable advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), sensing and perception in adverse weather remains one of the most difficult problems.

In fact, a recent article in Bloomberg magazine entitled “Self-Driving Cars Can Handle Neither Rain nor Sleet nor Snow” claimed that “The ultimate hurdle to the next phase of driver-less technology might not come from algorithms and artificial intelligence—it might be fog and rain [1]”.

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Dropcopter Co-Founder Promotes Exiting Comfort Zone

Adam Fine is co-founder of Dropcopter which uses unmanned aerial systems to pollinate orchards. In this interview in Syracuse.com he offers some thoughts on being a successful entrepreneur.

Photo of Dropcopter Co-Founder

Dropcopter Co-Founder

Adam moved to Syracuse from San Francisco (ouch) in December 2017 for the second year of the GENIUS NY program (see previous blogs), a business accelerator and competition geared to startups in unmanned vehicle technologies.

Companies accepted in the program take up residence in Syracuse at The Tech Garden. Among other things, they receive mentoring, office space and amenities, workshops and training, opportunities for networking, and compete for a $1 million investment.

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Geospatial Career Seminar – Your Organization Can Sponsor

To proactively support Younger Geospatial Professionals in your geographic region and encourage them to join professional organizations you might consider hosting a Geospatial Career Seminar or webinar.

Picture of Jon at Geospatial Career Seminar

Jon Murphy at a Geospatial Career Seminar

I was speaking with Jon Murphy the founder of GoGeomatics Canada today about how we could work together to advance our mutual interests in the younger generations of geospatial students and professionals. We have a couple of ideas that we are going to work on, but one area that is ready to go is the idea of career coaching, resume building and Geospatial Career Seminars.

Jon has been offering these services across Canada since 2011, completing over 25 seminars for national organizations, government agencies, local geospatial groups, plus colleges and universities. He provides one-on-one career coaching, advice on resume and cover letter writing and how to complete a successful job interview.

As a professional organization hosting a Geospatial Career Seminar and making it open to existing members as well as potential candidates would serve two valuable purposes.

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Posted in Business Development, Conferences, Education, Geomatics, GIS, Government, Marketing, Uncategorized, Young Geospatial Professional | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Camera is Much More Sensitive to Laser Pulses

An engineer at CES last week was very disappointed to find that his  new $1,998 Sony a7R II mirrorless camera had been permanently damaged by an automotive lidar sensor.

From an article in PetaPixel

Photo of Car Camera Damaged by Lidar

Camera Damaged by Lidar

Self-driving cars widely use a technology called lidar (which stands for light detection and ranging) to “see” the world using laser pulses. These lasers are designed to be safe to human eyes, but it seems they may not always be safe for cameras. A man at CES in Las Vegas says that a car-mounted lidar permanently damaged the sensor in his new $1,998 Sony a7R II mirrorless camera.

Ars Technica reports that Ridecell autonomous vehicle engineer Jit Ray Chowdhur had been photographing a self-driving car that was using a lidar system developed by AEye.

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Lidar Sensor Used for First Landing on Far Side of Moon

The Chinese have supplied a video of the first landing of a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon. The Chang’e-4 spacecraft included a lidar sensor that allowed it to make last minute corrections in the landing area.

From GBTimes

Photo of rover Lidar Sensor Guides Chang'e-4 Spacecraft CLEP/CNSA

Lidar Sensor Guides Chang’e-4 Spacecraft
CLEP/CNSA

The Chang’e-4 spacecraft touched down on the far side of the Moon, which never faces the Earth, at 02:26 UTC on January 3, deploying the Yutu-2 rover 12 hours later, but this is the first full footage we’ve seen of the landing.

The footage comes from the descent camera which initially gives a view ahead of Chang’e-4 over the 186-km-diameter Von Kármán crater, which contains the preselected landing site.

The video shows how, as the craft descends, it is extremely difficult to visually gain any sense of distance to the surface before the landing.

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TRB 2019 Annual Meeting Kicks – Off Sunday

The TRB 2019 meeting is scheduled to begin Sunday January 13 in Washington, D.C. The question is what effect the government shut down is going to have on this important  event.

logo for TRB 2019 Annual Meeting

TRB 2019 Annual Meeting

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) 98th Annual Meeting will be held January 13–17, 2019, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, in Washington, D.C. The information-packed program is expected to attract more than 13,000 transportation professionals from around the world.

The meeting program will cover all transportation modes, with more than 5,000 presentations in nearly 800 sessions and workshops, addressing topics of interest to policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions. A number of sessions and workshops will focus on the spotlight theme for the 2019 meeting: Transportation for a Smart, Sustainable, and Equitable Future.

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Posted in 3D Modeling, airborne LiDAR, artificial intelligence, Autonomous vehicles, Cloud, computer vision, Conferences, Construction, Consumer, GIS, Government, Infrastructure, intelligent cities, Laser Scanning, Lidar, Mapping, Mobile LiDAR, Orgs, Photogrammetry, Research, Software, Standards, The Industry, UAS, UAVs | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Foldable Drone Can Change Shape In-Flight

Now this is impressive. Be sure to see the video below. There have been other drones that could alter their shape in flight, but this foldable drone (developed by roboticists from University of Zurich and EPFL) is different in several important ways.

Foldable Drone in Two Forms - Photo: University of Zurich and EPFL

Foldable Drone in Two Forms – Photo: University of Zurich and EPFL

From an article in IEEE Spectrum.

Each of its four arms has a servo motor at the base that can rotate one propeller independently, with some height differences between the arms making sure that the foldable drone doesn’t immediately blenderize itself.

While there are some arm location combinations that are particularly handy, like completely unfolded (“X” morphology), completely folded (“O”), straight line (“H”), and partly folded (“T”), the foldable drone isn’t limited to those shapes, and it remains fully stable and controllable wherever its arms happen to be, even if the configuration is asymmetric. It’s not easy to do this—it requires “an adaptive control scheme able to cope in real-time with the dynamic morphology of the vehicle.”

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