It’s been a couple of years since Sony launched UMC-R10C to the market and also a couple of years since HD Air Studio developed its first drone gimbal for this industrial camera, but still Sony UMC-R10C integrated into a precision UAV gimbal remains popular among drone mapping and autonomous inspection providers.
We’ve developed Sony UMC-R10C drone gimbal, as a 2-axis drone gimbal and a 3-axis drone gimbal, for KVS Technologies Team, who was looking for a ready-to-use gimbals for inspecting power grids. KVS Technologies provides power companies with a safe and efficient way to monitor the conditions of their overhead power lines.
Not only image stabilization, but also serial communication
Sony UMC-R10C drone gimbal developed by HD Air Studio offers vast integration possibilities. Unlimited continuous rotation in the pan axis with the built-in slipring connector allows for serial communication and power supply.
Sony UMC-R10C drone gimbal, just like all HD Air Studio gimbals can be combined with powerful data processing software. Users of our gimbals communicate with the gimbal’s on-board computer, autopilot and perform commands defined by the gimbal operator or some automated tasks (e.g. to change settings, control gimbal, retrieve real-time data, execute various actions, etc.).
As autonomous drone inspections of various assets are frequently conducted in difficult weather conditions, KVS Technologies needed a camera stabilizer that was not only mechanically resilient but also weather-proof. For this purpose, HD Air Studio created a waterproof camera enclosure – a special sealing protecting the very camera that is integrated with the gimbal.
HD Air Studio can design weather sealing/enclosure that are seamlessly fitted to the custom gimbal. Our enclosures are compliant with even IP65 ingress protection code (protection against low pressure water jets from any direction, as well as condensation and water spray), as defined by the international protection marking EN 60529.
Smaller and lighter than ever, Mio is the smartphone-sized gimbal tailored to meet the needs of industrial uses.With powerful motors allowing payloads up to 400g, Mio has versatile compatibility perfect for your target missions.
Mio features a smart camera mounting solution without using the top bar, making your set-up cleaner but still excelling in performance.
Capturing distinct camera angles from any perspective with three different mounting options: bottom, top, and front mounting.
Mio is compatible with the Gremsy SDK to meet the requirements of those building solutions for various industrial applications.
Connect your system with the COM2 port on the MTX Hub of Mio.
Pixy WP is the customized version of the Pixy series gimbal, tailored-made for Wiris Pro and Wiris Agro R to meet a range of commercial and industrial applications. Not just compatible with Pixhawk and DJI A3 FC, Pixy WP is well-built to support the M300 RTK drone via using gPort, empowering users to leverage superior advantages in inspections, mapping, surveying, precision agriculture, and more. Apart from supporting drones using Pixhawk and DJI A3 FC, Pixy WP also allows you to integrate your payload with M300 RTK drone via gPort, adding more efficiency to your missions. No balancing nor tuning required, Pixy WP gives you the superfast setup time within seconds, ready to plug and play with your drone easily.
Specifically made for WIRIS Pro and WIRIS Agro R, Pixy WP fully supports the powerful capabilities of these thermal sensors to play in the field of precision agriculture, mapping, surveying, and inspection. Discover more about Pixy WP: Pixy WP | Tailored for Wiris Pro & Agro R #gremsy #gremsywp
Gremsy PE is purpose-built for an effortless integration with Auterion & Mavlink compliant drones. With its ease of deployment and simple operation, the new lineup is a perfect enterprise-ready solution.
Adhering to the Pixhawk Payload Bus standard, Gremsy PE is equipped with a new quick-release operating on a sliding mechanism, helping PE gimbals plug and play with most Pixhawk-based platforms, including Skynode, Pixhawk and Cube. I/O interface on the PE hub makes it simple and straightforward to connect with your Flight controller system and companion computer.
In collaboration with Auterion, we create Gremsy PE for seamless integration with the Skynode system. Now it’s your turn to deploy fully advanced Auterion’s drone ecosystem capabilities for industrial missions.
And with MAVSDK & gSDK compatibility, Gremsy PE allows you to develop products or applications related to gimbal control by connecting the COM2 on PE Hub to your system. Gremsy PE is now available in two versions: T3 PE and Pixy PE. Both support similar cameras to their standard versions, offering a variety of payload options to suit your needs.
Pixy SM is specially designed to integrate the leading professional M300 RTK drone with the full-frame mirrorless Sony α7R IV camera, offering an unbeatable combination for precision aerial mapping missions.
Utilizing the built-in advanced processing module, integrating with M300 RTK is quick and straightforward within seconds. Just mount, connect, and you’re ready to go.
Pixy SM is optimized to work perfectly with the 61-megapixel Sony α7R IV, ensuring that you can get high-resolution imagery for creating accurate maps. In concert with M300 RTK and Sony α7R IV, Pixy SM brings out the best-ever-grade mapping solution for geospatial experts.
With Pixy SM, the most powerful drone and superior sensor are now perfectly combined for industrial operations, making your entire system clean and easy to deploy.
At some point I got a number of maps, but not many easy, fast and simple options to share them with my clients or with whoever else I needed to share them. Share with those, who does not have GIS background, tools and knoledge to open geoTIFF files. I also needed to conveniently store and archive some of my maps online where they could be easily uploaded through slow internet line, accessed, shared, done some simple operations on them like area and distance measurements etc.
So my brother and I both software developers and myself with some drone and mapping background started this pet project.
It took some time to figure out and put some complex things and logic to work together. Like Geoserver for example. Some modules from our previous projects, some Golang and JS programming time, to make it all work under the hood. It still in development and might have issues, I am currently working on improving the user interface, while my brother takes on complex backend challenges, nevertheless I already find it pretty handy to use it for sharing my own maps. In case someone wants to try it too and give some feedback, feel free follow the link bellow.
It might not work in Safari browser though as we’re not fortunate Apple device owners, so it's never been tested there. In case someone tries it in Safari and it does not work, let me know we will try to do something about it but Chrome is the browser for now.
So what MapHub can do for now.
You can upload your processed geoTIFF images in different ways, By uploadig in your browser directly or by feeding it with Mega or Google Drive cloud storage links so you files will be pulled and adopted in the background.
It might take some time to process the images depending on their size, but at a result you should see them projected on the world map. With either OSM or MapBox satellite background.
There are some vector tools on the right that can be applied over your map for some marking or measuring purposes, they are still under development but work in general
It's handy collaborating. So I can put some mark over my geoTIFF map and someone else can see them and add theirs.
You can share your maps with others, making them public or private with permission to access them for specific people only
Make your maps “read only” or allow people to put vectors over them for some collaboration work
Share specific extent of the map in full access or “observer” mode
Allow to download the file for your client or just view it
In order to upload maps and do stuff you will need to sign in. Sign up / Sign is currently possible through Google account only.
Feel free to share your feedback and features ideas if you tried it, found it useful for yourself and thought of some extra features that would be good to have there.
Bellow there is a link zoomed to Fiji where I display some of my maps for demonstration purpose, but feel free to zoom to your area and upload and share your stuff.
Dronetag device is most often used by our partners in the following situations:
as a device for remote identification for drones such as DJI Phantom 4, DJI M200, DJI M600,
in cases when you need to coordinate with other entities,
when you need all flight data in one platform,
if you really do not like to lose your drone.
Let's get into more details...
1. Remote identification for any drone
Remote identification of drones will be mandatory for all flights in a Specific category from June 2022 and in U-space airspace from January 2023. So if you have older drones such as Phantom 4, Matrice 200, Matrice 600, etc., where probably no firmware update from DJI will come out, then Dronetag Mini will still allow you to fly more advanced scenarios in the Specific category / U-space. You simply won't end up in the limited Open A3 subcategory.
Dronetag Mini is a remote identification device designed as an add-on that can be mounted to any drone. Mini ensures that your drone is visible for all air traffic participants. It is no larger than half of your favourite müsli bar, weighs 32 grams and stays charged for up to 8 hours.
Mini receives the drone’s coordinates from GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and EGNOS satellites, and sends it, along with the drone identification, in real-time to the central system through a mobile network, or to everyone around via Bluetooth. Moreover, Mini includes an extension port for connecting and remote control of third-party peripheral devices.
2. When you need to coordinate with other drones
If you have a project where you need to coordinate with other entities such as a supervisor / guard / director, then Dronetag web and mobile app allow everyone involved to see if the drone is in the air and where it is.
3. All your flight data in one platform
If you combine different types of drones like copters and wings (or even combine different drone manufacturers), you can have all your flight data in one platform and available at any time. We can be your simplified variant of AirData / DroneLogbook but independent of the drone platform/manufacturer.
4. Never lose your drone
If you happen to occasionally lose the RC link to your drone and want to know what it's doing and where it's going, you'll never lose track thanks to the Dronetag Mini's LTE connection. Even if the drone flies away.
When the team of CRS Israel were asked to provide remote systems for 2021 Miss Universe, we decided to use Elit gyro stabilized head both on a remote dolly and on a 50ft technocrane. We usedElit extensively for a last year on various projects and the head proved to be very reliable and easy to set up.
Elit has a very nice feel to it and it is a joy to use. The gyro head is very precise, it can be very fast when needed, but also very slow and fluid for those small unnoticeable frame adjustments. Zoom and focus control of broadcast lenses is very well implemented and feels very organic – comments CRS Israel.
The backpan compensation and stabilisation allow to confidently use the full range of the zoom on a 4.5×13 broadcast lens and provide extensive, well-composed coverage fast and easy.
On the dolly lens,Elit dealt with vibrations very well, despite the height of 1.7 meter, the footage was really smooth.
At CRS Israel, we use many different heads and systems in our work and Elit became the favourite of our cameramen. It is reliable, fast to set up and easy to operate.
On the Ninja Warrior set, two units of Elit were used on technocranes, the show was shot at a seaport at summer with extreme heat and humidity for a period of 2 months twice a week. Not a single glitch.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, AfterFit is an electric power company specializing in green electricity generation, transmission, and sale. Since inception, they have been on the mission to accelerate the shift to renewable energy. Although increasing the number of renewable energy power plants is difficult due to the land constraints, AfterFIT has been scouring Japan’s landscape using satellite data, automated drones, and AI tech to find the most viable locations for renewable energy production.
With the in-house expertise to handle everything from power plant development to power supply, maintenance, and asset management, they are well-equipped to offer comprehensive solutions and provide decarbonized energy without incurring the conventional cost increases. In addition to 25 domestic bases, they have recently expanded into Vietnam and Indonesia.
The Hurdles AfterFit had to Overcome
The challenges in Japan are two-fold:
Workforce Scarcity & Capital Intensive:
The rise in Japan’s elderly population has had a significant impact on the availability of personnel across all industries. AfterFIT, for example, is experiencing a shortage of chief electrical engineers for power plant maintenance and management as it expands to a new location.
They need not only labor-saving measures to accommodate an ageing population, but they also need to invest heavily in round-trip transportation of staff members to and from the site. They also needed to ensure that two technicians are available within two hours of a mishap. Furthermore, with the end of the feed-in tariff (FIT) for photovoltaic power generation in March 2032, additional cost reductions are critical.
Copper wire Thefts:
Thefts have become a common occurrence in Japanese power plants in recent years, with several thefts reported each year at the same power plant, resulting in significant losses.
Copper wire theft is a distinct problem that not only increases the immediate cost of the replacement but also reduces the amount of electricity generated because the time required to complete the repair or replacement increases. This necessitates countermeasures to keep them from happening.
Drones for Solar Farm Inspection: How it all started
In response to these challenges, AfterFIT began using drones in an effort to “solve green power difficulties with technology”. With over 50 qualified pilots spread across 25 domestic bases, AfterFIT has been using drones for conducting surveys required for solar power plant inspection, construction, and design. An in-house application software for autonomous navigation has also been developed to enhance productivity through AI analysis of acquired photos.
Drones helped them in reducing the time required to inspect a MW from 3 hours to less than 10 minutes.
The process became more efficient, saving time and resources, but the labour shortage remained.
Solution: Modular DiaB systems to the rescue!
As a solution to the labour shortage, companies in Japan have developed and used a dedicated drone for power plant maintenance and inspection. The system including the charging port, costed around 10 million yen, posing a cost-effectiveness barrier to practical use.
However, AfterFIT was one of the first renewable energy companies to put a modular automated drone docking station into practical use at the power plant (1,924KW) in Ashino, Nasu Town, Tochigi Prefecture.
Without any operator or assistance on-site, AfterFit was able to conduct a level 3 (non-visual, no assistant) solar panel inspection. By utilizing commercially available off-the-shelf drones manufactured by DJI, the world’s largest drone manufacturer, and a compatible Drone Nest by Heisha, AfterFIT was able to reduce the cost of equipment and operations by more than half.
With FlytNow Auto software, they were able to carry out all operations remotely from the Tokyo headquarters, which was about 200 kilometres away from Ashino. The intelligent & reliable precision landing module provided by the software ensured the drone landed on the docking station, every single time.
The drones could fly autonomously along a predetermined route, inspect solar panels, and live stream infrared video feed and images back to the command centre. Each inspection takes about 20 minutes, and charging takes about 60 minutes. Its applications also include security monitoring systems, in which the drone can fly to a suspected anomaly and provide sufficient warnings to both management and any potential intruder. In addition, AfterFIT created an AI-based system in-house to generate power plant anomaly reports.
Following the completion of the demonstration experiment at the company-managed power plant, AfterFIT intends to expand its drone station operations to a non-company-managed power plant.
In addition to the labour & cost saving, the deployment of a fully automated drone docking stations has the benefit of boosting flight frequency, which saves money in the long run.
While previously, solar power plants were only inspected four times a year; drone nests have, however, made it possible to inspect more frequently. Weather events, such as typhoons or severe rain, might generate irregularities in energy production that can be discovered more quickly and efficiently. AfterFIT has been able to deliver lower-cost maintenance services of higher quality by offering these advantages to the company’s whole customer base.
Drone Docking Stations are Here to Stay!
With such incredible benefits in the renewable sector, DiaB systems are unmistakably on their way to taking the world by storm. Watch this video by Yuji Kuwamizu as he walks us through at NestGen’22 Keynote:
We, too, are excited to see how the integration of automation and drones will make processes, productivity, and production more efficient, faster, and larger as it pervades practically every industry!
The most recent technology breakthroughs in the commercial drone industry have propelled it to an entirely new level. Previously, a drone's entire flying cycle had to be continuously piloted and monitored. Fortunately, we have entered an era where drones can complete their predefined missions from start to finish while the operator is away. And drone-in-a-box systems have played a pivotal role in making this happen. These systems eliminate the need for human intervention by allowing the drone batteries to be charged/swapped autonomously, saving time, effort, and money.
Until now, the industry had been familiar with "Closed DiaB Systems," wherein a single company built everything. They invest in each segment, from building the drone to the box to the software to selling the system directly to end-users, making it expensive to produce and consume. To address this issue, FlytBase advocates for an "Open DiaB Movement" wherein hardware manufacturers, software providers, and DSPs collaborate in their areas of expertise to build and sell a modular system that reduces costs and improves efficiency.
The "Open Diab Movement" concept was reinforced during a panel discussion held during the NestGen'22 summit, where ground warriors advancing this technology and deploying it in many industries - the DSPs - shared their vision. Among the experts present were:
Tariq Nasraldeen, Founder & Chief Aviator at Firnas Aero in Saudi Arabia
Yuji Kuwamizu, a UAV specialist at AfterFIT, Japan,
Mohamad Shawky, Founder & CEO of Geodrones Aerial Services and,
Elia Ray Salem, Project Manager at DroneBase, Italy.
Industries likely to see rapid adoption of DiaB systems
The conversation started with one of the most frequently asked questions: "Which industries would see the earliest or most rapid adoption of drone-in-a-box systems?". The four experts cover several industries that would profit from full autonomous system deployments in their respective regions.
Drones for Oil & Gas Inspection
In the UAE region, Mohamed discusses how drone docks have made inspection and surveillance of oil rigs and pipelines that span kilometres easier and safer for personnel. Monitoring leaks or gas emissions, detecting spills and detecting corrosion in offshore rigs, solar panels, and remote facilities have become convenient in topographically and climatically challenging areas such as Dubai. The DiaB systems are weather and heat-resistant. An internal cooling system allows for much easier aerial mapping and surveying than was possible a few years ago when drones were not autonomous.
Drones for Security
Tariq adds to the conversation by discussing how autonomous drones have transformed security operations. Previously, large facilities had to be physically patrolled despite inclement weather, which made the procedure unreliable, inaccurate, and often even unproductive. Adding AI and object recognition technologies has made patrolling much easier - everything is now detectable, from a license plate to a wrongly parked car. The ability to attach payloads like thermal cameras or sensors to drones has further rendered the manual process obsolete.
Drones for Renewable Energy
Yuji brings a unique perspective to the discussion. According to him, in Japan, standard surveying approaches are highly ineffective since most solar panels are installed on mountainous terrain. With the integration of off-the-shelf drones, DiaB systems, and advanced AI, AfterFIT Japan can now conduct remote photo imaging, anomaly, and soil inspections in less than 10 minutes, at a significantly lower cost. Yuji emphasizes the benefit of autonomy, stating that operations are not hampered by external factors such as inclement weather, resulting in increased productivity.
Obstacles hindering full utilization of DiaB systems
Despite increasing awareness of drones, their capabilities, and advancements, Elia states there are very few drone companies in Italy, and DroneBase has to build market awareness through significant investments and continual promotion. Last year, they held live demonstrations at the NATO military airport to raise awareness (the testing ground for manned and unmanned systems). With several high-profile individuals from the military and other relevant industries in attendance, they attempted to highlight the benefits to aid regulatory bodies in their decision-making process.
An aspiring drone entrepreneur? Don't miss out on industry experts' advice!
Each with a wealth of knowledge and lessons learned, the panellists shared their insights with aspiring drone entrepreneurs. Mohammed stated that today's entrepreneurs must spend time and effort constantly self-reflecting and addressing the demands and concerns of their customers. It will, in his opinion, help entrepreneurs fine-tune and hone their services.
Speaking of customer demands, Tariq says that it all comes down to the client's requirements at the end of the day, which entrepreneurs should not lose sight of. He also believes that instead of catering to everyone's needs, aspiring entrepreneurs should try to specialize in different industry segments. Every segment necessitates a different set of expertise and skills, and one should strive to make their area of expertise a differentiating factor as well.
He recalls a conversation he had with a client years ago in which the client said, "I don't care what drones you're using, autonomous, non-autonomous or whatever, I just need my data to be accurate and timely."
Should one be scared of Drone Autonomy? We think not!
The panel concludes by addressing the concerns that arise during the initial phase of any modern technology. With drones and artificial intelligence coming in, there is concern about the loss of employment. The panel, however, disagrees with that viewpoint; Mohammed affirms that "DiaB will not cut jobs, but instead create more jobs."
He explains how, even if drones become fully autonomous, the industry will still require human involvement in mission planning, management, and monitoring drone flying cycles. Furthermore, we are a fair distance away from the day when regulatory bodies approve the flight of drones without a pilot, whether autonomous or not. There are several checks and balances that must be considered. Even reductions in certain job profiles will be offset by an increase in the creation of new job profiles and technological advancements.
To summarize, while long-distance travel, unfavourable working conditions, and repetitive flights would no longer be part of a pilot's workflow, drone autonomy could lead to more fulfilling careers for pilots in areas such as R&D, data analytics, and people/human-centric operations that require not only relevant knowledge and experience but also human characteristics such as empathy and general perception.
Watch the following video, to hear from the industry experts themselves. Watch complete event On-Demand, visit here.
At HD Air Studio, we see immense potential in designing drone gimbals housing simultaneously 2-3 sensors of various type. Advances in sensors allow us for a wider range of applications in aerial surveying, mapping, inspections, robotics. This trend, coupled with the miniaturization of sensors, opens up completely new possibilities for drone camera stabilization solutions and data collection.
Multi-sensor gimbals can be equipped with such payloads as: thermal cameras, LiDARs, FPV cameras, lasers or radars. With each of 2 or 3 sensors responsible for collecting different type of data, our custom multi-camera gimbals offer immense data collection possibilities.
Using a multi-sensor gimbal for off-shore search & rescue missions
Last year, HD Air Studio designed and manufactured a custom gimbal equipped with 3 different sensors, including: Wiris Pro thermal camera, Mako G IR camera, Livox LIDAR. This custom gimbal is a part of the aerial solution designed to search and rescue a person that falls off a ship. The drone with our camera stabilizer will search for the man overboard, using thermal imaging and neural networks for detection and classification. During navigation, the gimbal is mostly pointing down, because the thermal camera needs to directed towards the water. Wiris Pro thermal camera is equipped with an LWIR microbolometric sensor with 640×512 px resolution (in the 7.5 – 13.5 μm range). Mako G IR is an infrared camera and Livox is LIDAR that can detect objects as far as 260 meters away.
Importantly, such a gimbal can be also used for other projects, where tasks such as object tracking are primary. The tracking may happen manually –via RC, or autonomously. It is easy to switch between control modes on the gimbal, so it’s convenient to change between different applications.
Making sure that the gimbal doesn’t affect the drone airtime too much has always been our priority – one of our off-the-shelf camera gimbal stabilizers weights only 600g, while can carry 800g payloads. Achieving an optimum weight-to-carry ratio, when a gimbal is housing a couple of sensors simultaneously, is a must. The miniaturization of sensors is a great advantage these days. In all our designs we make sure that the camera stabilizer we design for you will be robust enough to carry 2 or 3 payloads, but still not too heavy to reduce the airtime. We always concentrate on producing high-quality gimbal prototypes which are equal to mass-production camera stabilizers, what requires taking an unusual approach during the production process. At HD Air Studio, we combine aluminium, still and plastic cnc machining, composites treatment and different 3D prints, including most precise techniques, like multi jet fusion.
Getting a multi-sensor gimbal ready for all weathers
As drone inspections of various assets are frequently conducted in difficult weather conditions, HD Air Studio is experienced in designing weather sealings/enclosures that are seamlessly integrated with a multi-sensor gimbal.
Designing a custom multi-sensor gimbal for an Italian drone service provider has been one of these projects, where a special enclosure from harsh weather conditions has been essential. HD Air Studio gimbal with Canon 5dS, Lidar, FPV camera onboard is used to conduct offshore wind turbine inspections, so strong wind and rain happen a lot. We made sure that the gimbal can work in hard weather using an IP65-rated protection enclosure.
CRS Israel has for years provided cranes and remote systems of various kinds to major TV & cinema sets in Israel. 2 years ago Elit stabilized heads joined CRS’s strong fleet of 24 cranes (including telescopic ones), dolly, cable and vehicle systems. This way Elit stabilized head is a part of high-profile shows supported by CRS in Israel, including the latest Miss Universe 2021.
CRS Israel’s CEO, Roy Arama, recently shared some of its impressions about using Elit stabilized head on major TV & cinema sets in Israel, including X Factor, MasterChef, Miss Universe.
We were interested in advancing to stabilized remote heads specifically for our Techno crane department. We were introduced to the Elit stabilized head through our leading operator and technician, who came across this head after an in-depth research and testing many brands in this field. The choice was made and today I can tell you that we are very satisfied with the results.
– What do you think about Elit stabilized head after working with it for some time?
Our Operators enjoy the simplicity and accuracy of the stabilizing system. It is very easy to use and balance, almost a plug-and-play system. We have found Elit to be very stable when shooting tight and with a long lens. We have not encountered any technical issues and our operators gained much confidence during live broadcast productions such as Miss universe 2021, X factor, MasterChef and many others.
What setups did you try with Elit so far?
We used Elit stabilized head on our Supertechno 50’, Moviebird 45′ with big camera packages, long and heavy lenses, while shooting for “Hit and Run” for Netflix and applied it on our Furio dolly system as well.
Me and my friend Alperen Akküncü have been working on an open-source INS/GNSS system for a while. We came up with an open-source INS/GNSS module for implementing various navigation algorithms. Out of the box, It’s shipped with its default algorithm which is discrete architecture loosely coupled EKF/NCF. Pellicanus has castellated pins which makes it easy to integrat into your own projects or you can use the development board to play with algorithms that we provide or your own navigation algorithm.
Recently we started the pre-launch on CrowdSupply. Here is the link to our page if you want to subscribe:
The main processor we use is RP2040 from Raspberry pi which can be programmed with C or micropython. We will be providing many micropython scripts fort he ease of development.
Both hardware and software are open-source sysyem. All of the algorithms and KiCAD Project will be shared on out github page. You can either implement your own algorithm or use our algorithm that we provide.
Here are some 3D pics of Pellicanus
This is the development board for pellicanus. It includes qiwiic connector, sdcard interdace, USB connector, various pins and LEDs.
This system is an INS/GNSS module. It gives you the opportunity to implement and test many algorithms. PELLICANUS is a tactical level system. You can program it with the development board and use it with the development board or in your own bardu.
In addition, It has a GUI where you can test many AHRS and some Navigation algorithms and graph them.
This is the old version of pellicanus. We pivoted a little bit because we want pellicanus to be not only a development board for navigation but also for integrating to actual projects!
While using drones for all sorts of infrastructure inspections is gradually becoming a new normal, we’ve seen a growing market need for high-performance drone gimbals, which are seamlessly fitted to unusual operational parameters, non-standard set-up and niche sensors - be it a hyper-/super-spectral or industrial camera, LiDAR, laser or radar. We’ve decided to collect some hardware and software considerations, we’ve discussed with our customers in the course of drone gimbal projects.
Many users looking for a drone gimbal for autonomous inspection projects are first of all faced with a choice between an integrated payload gimbal and a custom camera stabilizer. With over 12 years of experience in custom gimbal design, at HD Air Studio we believe that custom gimbal is a good alternative to integrated payload gimbals, because you can use a sensor of your own selection, and still enjoy a drone gimbal that is designed to perfectly fit all subsystems, including a drone frame, making it fast and easy to use.
How do you solve the challenge of cable management in your drone gimbals?
Quick set-up time and huge efficiency of a drone gimbal are a must during autonomous inspection projects. Dangling cables are the last thing you need there. Our custom-built motors with hollow shafts solve the challenge of cable management, even in case of multi-sensor gimbals. Hollow shafts allow us to neatly run all electrical wiring, which varies a lot in custom projects, as well as reduce the gimbal weight.
What if I want to use two different sensors with your drone gimbal?
Our custom gimbals are designed with an agile approach in mind. With over 12 years of the market experience, we have designed many gimbals which are ready to use in a couple of sensor’ configurations and all types of sensors are easily detachable from a drone. We also try to be adaptable to changes in the course of the project, so usually we discuss a couple of design configurations until we come up with the ultimate solution.
Is it possible to expand capabilities of drone gimbals?
We know that vibration-free footage is not enough for today’s drone gimbals, especially when it comes to autonomous inspections. HD Air Studio custom gimbals offer limitless programming possibilities, because they are equipped with expandable software. Thanks to Serial API, our gimbals are compatible with third-party data processing software. This allows our Customers to seamlessly integrate with Serial API and use gimbals for various sophisticated commands, including: retrieving real-time data, object live tracking, changing settings, performing automated or pilot-managed actions and many others. Data security is a great advantage of this model - you are the sole owner of data gathered by the gimbal and its peripheral devices.
Developing high-performance gimbals providing vibration-free footage for all sorts of autonomous inspections is our thing. Electricity grids, wind turbines, building sites, oil & gas infrastructure are successfully monitored using drones with HD Air Studio custom aerial gimbals. Below have a glimpse at our recent projects:
Examples of projects:
Customer: US provider of agricultural drone inspections
Sensors: Cubert S185 FireflEYE hyperspectral camera
Project: designing and producing a gimbal for Cubert S185 FireflEYE. This sensor is quite unusual - it weights only 490g, but it’s quite large in size. Gimbals available on the market that would be able to house a sensor of such big dimensions were too heavy. HD Air Studio came up with an ultra-light gimbal, supporting the drone flight time efficiency.
Customer: UK provider of autonomous inspections in construction, oil & gas, infrastructure
Sensors: Canon EOS
Project: customizing solutions from HD Air Studio’s regular line of products - Sonda X8 drone frame and Infinity MR-S2 gimbal - for Canon EOS so as to make the hardware work seamlessly with the client’s peripheral devices (V-Map, Slantrange, gimbal, obstacle avoidance µPatch, uSharp and others). Our camera stabilizer and drone frame are a part of the client’s command and control solution which enables pilots to fly drones remotely from a central control room.
Customer: Canada-based drone service provider specializing in industrial & agricultural inspections
Sensors: SONY A6300, sensors: SlantRange main sensor, slantrange top sensor - antenna, Vmap sensor, µ-patch on the drone
Project: developing a custom aerial solution, consisting of a drone & gimbal prepared for 3 types of sensors with adjustable mounts. Thanks to its folding arms, the drone frame is very convenient to transport. This platform is designed to mount different peripheral devices.The drone had to be ready to use in a couple of configurations and all types of sensors should be easily detachable from the drone.
Posted by Saulius L. on January 24, 2022 at 6:13am
With the introduction of motorized zoom lenses, the next logical step was matching the sensor board. Sure there are countless suitable sensors from various manufacturers like Sony semiconductors, Onsemi, Aptina, and many more. But lack of good support from the SOC side suggested starting from IMX477. It is a reasonably modern 12M image sensor used by many single-board computers like Raspberry Pi, NVIDIA Jetson, and others.
Raspberry Pi locks cameras with a security chip and prohibits non-authorized cameras with standard boards. Luckily this security feature is not used by compute modules. Motorized lenses have dedicated, and in most cases, unique direct mount features. So a custom camera module is a must, thus introducing the IMX477 MIPI CSI2 camera board.
This is the first of a few upcoming camera modules. Note multiple mounting features – this allows single-board use with many lenses.
Features of the lens kit:
Lens optical train – 3 stepper motors for Zoom, Focus and compensate lens groups
Two optical filters: IR CUT and NIR
Reference optical train elements
Runs on GRBL firmware ported on STM32 CPU with four axis motion planner
Using the camera with Raspberry Pi compute module
There is a great resource about the IMX477 camera on Raspberry Pi pages, feel free to learn how to control and use it from Raspberry Pi. Below is a simple recipe for streaming real-time video from RPI to a computer.
NestGen 2022 is a global virtual conference on drone autonomy dedicated to building a rich network of industry experts and adopters of drone-in-a-box (DiaB) systems.
Why NestGen? While there are numerous conferences and events that cater to the drone industry at large, there is a dearth of focus on drone autonomy in general and DiaB systems in particular. NestGen is an effort to bring the focus on these critical sections of our industry, which will be the key drivers of growth as we transition from manual operations of drones to full autonomy.
We have often imagined a world where automated drones are able to help us with aerial monitoring, security, inspections, and various other commercial applications with little to no human intervention. It’s now time to make that happen!
What’s happening in NestGen? NestGen is a one-day event that features 11 hours of expert sessions, deep-dives, product updates & announcements, application-specific breakouts, and a boatload of ways to network and engage with the fellow drone community members, virtually.
Designing and producing a custom gimbal for as many as 3 different sensors installed simultaneously, including two thermal cameras and LIDAR, was a really exciting project for the HD Air Studio team recently. Our client, The Technical University of Denmark, will use the gimbal to support search and rescue teams in the maritime environment.
Technical requirements outlined by Technical University of Denmark made us take absolutely different approach to the gimbal design than ever before. When The Technical University of Denmark took the leap of faith and selected HD Air Studio as the gimbal developer, I knew that I was going to do everything to make them satisfied with the gimbal. It was a really exciting project. This custom gimbal is equipped with 3 different sensors, including: Wiris Pro thermal camera, Mako G IR camera, Livox LIDAR. To enable some of the communications to the base station, the drone is unable to change its orientation. Therefore, the gimbal must also automatically adjust itself to provide the optimal field of view, as the image coming from the thermal camera is a rectangle and not a square. This required a programmable gimbal, with fast and precise movement. – Kuba Jakubczyk, CEO at HD Air Studio explains.
HD Air Studio custom gimbal is a part of the aerial solution designed to search and rescue a person that falls off a ship. The drone starts autonomously when receiving a man overboard signal. The drone with HD Air Studio camera stabilizer will search for the man overboard, using thermal imaging and neural networks for detection and classification. During navigation, the gimbal is mostly pointing down, because the thermal camera needs to directed towards the water. The drone will also be used for other projects, where tasks such as object tracking are primary. The tracking may happen manually – via RC, or autonomously. It is easy to switch between control modes on the gimbal, so it’s convenient to change between different applications.
The Technical University of Denmark has been testing our custom gimbal for a couple of months already. We asked them what they liked most about our solution and here is what they said:
smooth movement, does not affect the video data
great sensor encasement
easy to work with from a hardware perspective
useful pass-through of cables
application freedom: programmable in the SimpleBGC software and via ROS
ease-of-use: controlled by RC, programming and setting up different profiles/scripts through code, which the gimbal can switch to by simply pressing a button
gimbal material: the gimbal looks very impressive, the design is very professional. The material is light and resistant. It is important for the gimbal to be light, as to not affect the flight capacity. We can confirm that the gimbal is very resistant, as it suffered no damage when the drone was involved in a small crash
I can score communication with HD Air Studio 10/10. The company is very responsive and professional. They were very understanding, they helped us make decisions for the gimbal requirements in areas that were unknown to us. We were constantly updated about the project progress. They warned us that the gimbal capabilities will be restricted by the cabling of one of our sensors and they offered to remake the cable for us. Their solution works great and we are very happy with our product. – said the Technical University of Denmark.