BVLOS – The Next Step

lidar2finalOperating a small UAS beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) is something that makes a lot of sense for applications such as power transmission line inspection and precision agriculture where the consequences of failure are quite low as compared to a busy highway.

To demonstrate the feasibility of this next level of UAS sophistication the NM Group in conjunction with Phoenix Air Unmanned successfully captured 22 miles (35 km) of a 345-kV line in southwest Missouri from July 18-20, 2016. The system included the Riegl VUX-1 lidar. The LiDAR system and platform combination produced data comparable to and in some cases in excess of the resolution from manned LiDAR flights, delivering close to 100 ppm2 at a flying height of 100 ft (30 m) above ground level.

plscaddfinal_0This ensured suitable depiction of the primary transmission circuit together with underbuild and any undercrossing wires. The presence of independent control enables the data to be confirmed at a high data accuracy of 4-inch (102-mm) root-mean-square error (RMSE) overall, with 2-inch (51-mm) RMSE for structures and conductors.

For this project operators were stationed in a daisy chain fashion which allowed the copter to be in sight at all times while still demonstrating the ability of the system to fly beyond line of sight.

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