3D Robotics

The real power of the Solo platform is in the software, and we've been hinting since the start that the consumer applications for Solo were just the start. So I'm delighted to announce the official start of the 3DR Enterprise era with SiteScan, our collaboration with Autodesk to use the 3DR Solo and software stack in combination with Autodesk's cloud to create a one-touch "reality capture" from the air.

From the Autodesk press release:

Taking Data Capture to New Heights

Leading drone maker, 3D Robotics is teaming up with Autodesk

“Capturing site data today is costly, time consuming, and often dangerous. Drones can easily go where it’s inefficient or unsafe for field personnel, making it easier to accurately measure our world so we can better manage it,” says Chris Anderson, CEO of leading drone maker 3D Robotics.

3D Robotics (3DR) is using Autodesk’s Forge Platform to develop a new UAV-to-cloud solution for enterprise field professionals within the construction, telecom, survey, mapping, energy and infrastructure industries. The Forge platform consists of a set of Autodesk cloud services, APIs, and SDKs for developers to quickly create the data, apps, experiences, and services that power the future of making things.

Anderson describes that by leveraging the Forge platform, 3D Robotics is able to deliver “a complete solution for site capture that will help business customers save time and money and will take humans out of harm’s way.”

3DR is using Autodesk’s ReCap Photo Web application programming interface (API) to develop a reality capture solution that allows field professionals to quickly and easily perform inspections, surveys and scans of work sites from its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). For example, take telecom inspections that involve climbing tall towers. 3DR’s SOLO drone will capture data, then process it in the cloud using Autodesk ReCap, eliminating the need for personnel to risk injury.

Once boundary is drawn around the area selected in Site Scan app, 3DR’s SOLO drone will be ready to take off with one swipe to start the motor and another to take off.

Once processed by the Autodesk ReCap engine, the reality data (3D point cloud, 2D orthographic views, 3D mesh) is made available on A360, an Autodesk cloud platform, from where it can be downloaded to be used by Autodesk software to help field professionals with monitoring sites, measuring stock piles, getting the as-built context, survey and mapping, and more.

After data is collected and stored in the cloud Autodesk software helps with monitoring sites, measuring stock piles, getting the as-built context, survey and mapping, and more.

“We are excited to collaborate with 3D Robotics to help field service professionals collect information and make insightful decisions across a variety of industries,” said Amar Hanspal, senior vice president, Products at Autodesk. “From the integration of Site Scan and Autodesk cloud services, to their use of the Forge platform, 3D Robotics is opening up new ways of working for our architecture, engineering and construction customers.”

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  • Looks promising. I would like to know how it compares with Pix4D in terms of accuracy and price. 

    Also I'm curious as to what the companion computer is used for? Are there any cool intelligent features? 

    PS: What about enterprise cameras?

  • T3

    Seconding Marcus, I would LOVE to see Solo able to tag my images with GPS and attitude metadata.  Again, for Agisoft.  In fact, other than intelligent camera pointing that would be my only motivation to upgrade from Iris.

  • @Chris Anderson

    That is great information. Is SiteScan locked into using reCap, or is it something that can be used to collect data and inject into the images and then use those images in Agisoft etc with GCP's and the restof the work flow?

  • Is this going to work with my Solo or do I need to "upgrade" to Enterprise? I'm still pretty fuzzy on enterprise...

  • 3D Robotics

    @Marcus: SiteScan does inject GPS + IMU data ("position and pose") into the image metadata automatically, which will be used in ReCap going forward. 

    @Pmarche: Yes. Requires Solo's onboard companion computer, which does a lot of the processing. 

  • Very nice!!!
  • Will it be exclusively for Solo?

  • This is a great start, but the sad reality of this is that reCap pro by Autodesk returned horrible results especially at the price/cloud services they want for it. The results in the image are decent enough looking until you see the rail road tracks look like they were drawn with an exceptionally shaky hand. It won't be long before Autodesk buys up another program or two to try and make a better offering. This will be made much more useful on that day.

    I'd be more interested in features such as injecting GPS into the images automatically or RTK GPS using on board rtklib and the companion computer. 

  • Moderator

    Would this allow a service provider to transfer that data to a customer's Autodesk account, or is this just aimed at companies wishing to do their own flying? 

  • 3D Robotics

    Dronin: It's fully integrated into Autocad and Autodesk's cloud software. So the mesh/point cloud/ortho show up automatically in the tools Autodesk customers already use. 

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