If you're looking for a robust LiDAR system to onboard into your business, you might want to look into Leica Geosystems' fully integrated flying laser scanner.
And, it might just be the perfect UAS solution for you and your team.
In this article, we'll go into detail about a Leica UAV with which we've got first-hand experience: the BLK2FLY. Not only is it the first LiDAR UAV of its kind globally, it might just be the perfect UAS solution for you and your team.
Let's break it down.
What is Leica BLK2FLY?
Leica BLK2FLY is an autonomous LiDAR UAV that captures external images of buildings, complex structures, and external surroundings to create brilliant 3D point clouds.
The fast, compact, and precise autonomous UAS was released in September 2021 by the parent company, Hexagon.
As an autonomous laser scanner, BLK2FLY facilitates easy usability ... essentially, anyone with a commercial UAV pilot's license can fly it because it doesn't require much technical know-how.
How It Works & Key Features
The geospatial data obtained during and after a Leica BLK2FLY flight allows you to create comprehensive 3D-point clouds.
In fact, the flying laser scanner is jam-packed with features responsible for optimized 3D visualization.
Besides autonomous scanning, the Leica BLK2FLY stands to bring an incredible amount of value to your drone program.
1. Flight safety
Apart from building exteriors, it's pretty resourceful when scanning inaccessible areas. It has incredible tech built-in that enhances flight safety by facilitating impressive features such as obstacle avoidance.
It comes in a compact travel case that makes it easily movable from one scanning location to another. The transportation case accommodates essentials such as chargers, cables, and the iPad controller.
You're probably wondering how a powerful mobile laser scanner could fit into a travel case, so let's put this into perspective. First, the LiDAR UAV is only 5.95 lbs, or 2.6 kilos. Second, its wings are foldable, and that's how it gets to fit into the case. So, portability - check!
How about the setup time?
The Leica BLK 2FLY has almost zero setup time, as it has fixed payloads. Its lightweight, compact build makes it convenient to use, particularly during scanning projects with scattered locations.
4. High photosensing and imaging ability
Each of its five cameras has an RGB sensor that colorizes the point clouds, facilitates visual tracking and, most importantly, provides a live visual feed on the iPad controller during aerial scanning operations.
5. GrandSLAM technology
SLAM stands for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping.
The flying laser scanner has a sensor fusion with all the tricks up its sleeves. It onboards LiDAR, radar, GNSS, and five RGB-enabled cameras to provide you with a more accurate 3D visual.
Radar sensors can detect glass obstacles which come in handy when scanning skyscrapers.
All work and no recharge can affect the quality of your output, but that's where the advanced hot-swap battery system comes in.
6. Hot-swap recharge system
Once your UAV's battery drains, it deviates from the flight plan and heads to your base location for a recharge. The best part about this recharging system is that your scanning operations won't experience significant downtimes.
It allows you to safely detach and attach new battery products without having to shut down your laser scanner, after which it takes off to continue with the flight plan from where it left off.
7. Easy-to-use flight app
Why so much talk about the flight plan without some background information on it? Well, here it comes. The flight plan is one of the features of BLK2FLY's flight app. The flight app is known as the BLK2FLY Live app.
The Live app simplifies scanning operations as it only requires you to draw a polygon over the object you intend to scan to initiate a flight plan.
Besides automated flight planning that enables autonomous scanning, the Live app also has a feature for manual control lovers. The iPad has virtual joysticks, allowing you to manually control your laser scanner as desired or whenever necessary.
Also, if you're wondering about the default network connection that's in use, it uses the BLK2FLY's Wi-Fi signal on the iPad.
Is there a plan to cater to Wi-Fi disruptions due to decreased proximity between you and your flying scanner? More on that in the next section.
8. LTE cellular connection
During satellite-style view scanning, the Leica BLK2FLY may get too far away from the Wi-Fi signal transmitted from the iPad, distorting the network signal altogether.
The integration of an LTE cellular connection caters to this shortcoming. It allows seamless scanning operations and easier access to data for your clients and colleagues during fieldwork.
So how does this fully integrated UAV work?
How Leica BLK2FLY Works
BLK2FLY uses a unique localization and mapping software that combines three different information types for optimized scanning. The unique technology that enables this is known as GrandSLAM.
The three different types of information include:
LiDAR SLAM- BLK2FLY collects and analyzes LiDAR data to determine its 3D position.
Visual SLAM- The flying laser scanner uses its five RGB cameras to compare and contrast consecutive images to calculate its movement through 3D space.
IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit)- An internal sensor that senses the scanner's motion.
Apart from enhancing accuracy, GrandSLAM technology also enhances the BLK2FLY's ability to tap into its autonomy. Another butterfly effect includes a widened flight scope that improves its ability to fly in different environments while accounting for the varying conditions in a single scan.
Why You Should Get A Leica BLK2FLY
Aside from the sheer accuracy, the BLK2FLY's LiDAR allows it to amass all the necessary information in a single pass.
If you're a UAV mapping professional or in the following sectors, you'll greatly benefit from all of the Leica system's powerful features:
Construction - it effortlessly provides accurate LiDAR coverage of projects during and after construction.
Architecture - the UAV simplifies the documentation of progressive changes from original building plans during construction.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) - its easy usability enables the provision of BIM data with minimal effort.
BLK2FLY offers all these and more and requires minimal training to operate. Thus, significantly minimizing costs you would have otherwise spent on training your staff.
So, if you want to achieve a more satisfactory LiDAR coverage with an autonomous UAV scanning workflow, the Leica BLK2FLY is your best bet.
If you're still unsure about which UAS will work best for your needs, connect with us - we're here to help!
At Advexure, as real-world drone experts, we pride ourselves on providing you with UAV products and solid solutions to ensure you pick the best UAV for your different use cases.
Just open the chat box or request your risk-free quote for your system here to get started.