FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Yes. Any Dual Frequency GNSS base station will work with the system. The GNSS system is based on post processing (PPK) and thereby eliminates the complexities involved with RTK (Real Time Kinematic) radio links as well as reducing the over-all weight the drone, while still providing the same level of accuracy. Minimum observation rate required at the base station is 1Hz. Alternatively, you can subscribe to a positioning service to obtain virtual reference station data. We can provide an extra GNSS receiver to be used as a base station. Please contact us for more information.
As average 5-10 cm accuracy can be achieved for 50 Has using 4 GCPs. For each extra 25 Has one GCP is required to maintain this level of accuracy. Increasing the number of GCPs will increase the accuracy even more.
However, a high performance GNSS L1/L2 dual frequency 20hz GPS receiver will be soon offered as an optonal addition to the Aeromapper 300 and Aeromapper Talon. This will enable the user to achieve up to 2 cm accuracy with NO GROUND CONTROL POINTS at all. Images are very accurately geo-referenced using Post Processing Kinematic (PPK) GPS technology.
If not using the PPK upgrade you can geotag the images by following this procedure: http://plane.ardupilot.com/wiki/common-geotagging-images-with-mission-planner/
Yes, we do provide UAV training to our customers. Typical UAV training takes one day, is performed in the flight field and all aspects of aircraft preparation, checklist and flight are covered. No image processing training is included. Customers are advised to schedule to come to Ontario- Canada for at least two days, to have an extra day in case of rain.
Most of the times the training is not necessary. The UAVs and delivered ready to use, flight tested and with a complete and very detailed user Manual with lots of examples, videos and photos, checklists, and data covering every aspect of the flight, including examples to make your first flight solo. It is completely possible to get your UAV airborne with no problems even if the user has no experience. Just follow the steps indicated in the manual and double check your mission before flight according to the examples given.
Over the years we have seen that after customers make their first 2-3 flights solo they understand how easy is really the system to operate and they are pretty much ready to start making real missions.
It is pretty simple and takes a few seconds to do. Here is a complete video on how to pack the parachute for the Aeromapper 300: link to video.
Since our UAVs use a conventional configuration airframe (meaning wings and tail) the required roll is minimal during crosswinds, making them very stable platforms. The croswind is handled mainly by the rudder or V-tail. Unlike flying wings (tailess configuration), conventional configurations are much more stable and have independent yaw control to compensate for crosswind situations. Therefore we don't consider necessary to add camera gimbals inside the UAVs.
The cameras are fired automatically by the autopilot via infrared shutter or relay. The Aeromappers are programmed easily in relation to desired picture resolution, flight altitude and overlaps. The autopilot triggers the camera by distance. When the user is creating the mission the Survey Tool will ask the user to select the target area, enter the altitude, overlaps and some camera information (which is provided in the manual). The autopilot then will calculate the distance between images, number of images, resulting ground resolution and other important fields which are displayed. You can see how your mission will look like even before flying and see changes on the mission in real time.
Number of pictures equals post processing time. Since the user has control over these variables before the mission starts it is very easy to predict how your mission will end and how many images you will have to process vs. ground resolution.
The software required to create missions and to communicate with the aircraft during flight (data link) is the Mission Planner by 3DRobotics. The Aeromapper User's Manual will provide you with all the instructions to download the software, create missions and in general use the software.
A full survey of several square kilometers even with waypoints at different altitudes can be created in seconds: just click on the map to select the target area (google earth), select altitude, overlaps, orientation of the lines and enter the camera settings according to your User's Manual and the autopilot automatically calculates:
The parachute is operated from the remote control (not autopilot controlled) so ultimately is the human pilot who has control over it. Is up to the pilot to decide what is the best moment to deploy the parachute. For this, detailed explanations are included in the User's Manual.
When the UAV has finished the mission it will return to home (or when the pilot commands it to come back home at any moment) and will loiter over home at a preset or redefined altitude. The center of the loiter circles and its altitude can be quickly changed via two cliks on the map. Usually the altitude is readjusted to 30m over the ground and then the parachute is released. With a little bit of practice the pilot can predict or adjust the procedure to make the UAV land in a very small and specific area of about 30x30m.
Authorities evaluate the Operator's ability to fly safely as well as the aircraft being used and sometimes the operation itself. Several operators in the United states have been already been granted Section 333 Exemptions to conduct commercial operations in U.S. territory, and countless SFOCs been approved for many operations in Canada involving Aeromappers.
The Aeromappers meet ALL the design standards of FAA and Transport Canada for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. In fact, many of the features of the Aeromappers like the parachute landing system and long range data & control links have played a significant role in proving to the authorities that the Aeromappers are one of the safest UAVs out there for people and property on the ground.
The parachute landing system can be deployed at any moment by the user, being a safe "flight termination device" which is required by authorities.
Also, the long range data & control links provide and very reliable and strong link with redundancy: the aircraft can be operated in several ways with both the remote control or data link, in case one of them becomes unavailable during flight.
Additionally, authorities consider the proven track record of the Aeromappers and all its other unique features & specifications.
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