Paracosm does not yet offer official support for PX-80 scanning via drone, however, several innovative customers have used drones on projects.
We are waiting for more customer feedback to produce a better guide for drone scanning. As you do any testing, please send us updates so we can continue to improve our recommendations.
We have tested with the DJI Matrice M600 Pro. At minimum, the drone platform must have the payload and battery capacity to fly the PX-80 (7lbs).
- We recommend to keep the scanning speed below 10 mph or 16 kph (please keep in mind the terrain an environment you are capturing, as that can reduce possible speeds and scan results)
- Distance of the scanner is 80m. For the SLAM algorithm to successfully track, the system needs to be in range of geometric features.
- The PX-80 is operated through wireless connection to the ipad. If the Px-80 leaves the range of the ipad, this is fine the scanner will continue to collect data normally. To stop the scan, you must return to be in range of the ipad.
- Keep in mind the type of environment you are scanning in. The SLAM needs geometric features to be able to track off of. So circling a building, or going around unique equipment or city streets provides varied geometric features. Scanning over a flat field does not provide varied features to track.
- Flight pattern
- A circular path around a specific building or geometric rich environment, gives the scan the chance to close the loop.
- A straight line path across a large area, would likely accumulate drift error.
- Start with smaller scans focused on specific buildings, before expanding to larger areas.
- Field of View and mounting angle
- The vertical FOV of the lidar is 30 degrees, so mounting angle is important to capture a good scan.
- Completely vertical or completely horizontal mounting angle is likely not good. The exact angle will depend on your mounting platform & scanning environment, but we recommend you limit your tests to between 10 & 70 degrees vertical. See images below.
Please let us know your results so we can refine our recommendations.
This video shows another customer who is mounting the PX-80 to a drone for tunnel scanning. They have the PX-80 mounted on top of the drone, instead of the bottom. Watch video here: https://youtu.be/Qc6feVMQzFI
*Note that these are not official product operation guidelines, but a broad list of important factors to consider for drone flight.
Alternative workflow examples:
We have several examples of customers who have combined PX-80 scans with drone data photogrammetry scans. This method was to scan with the PX-80 from the ground, and take pictures for photogrammetry from a drone. Afterwards, both datasets can be registered to each other to produce a point cloud. You can also view a video fly through here.
We're still developing our SLAM algorithm to work more consistently in flight. If you collect and share the raw datasets, this will help us develop faster. As we progress, we hope to have a software update that officially supports drone flight.
Please share any details or datasets of projects that you have worked on using the PX-80 and drones so we can improve our recommendations. This feedback will help push our development for drone use in the future.