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.