How multi-sensor gimbals can support commercial UAV operations

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.

Learn more about this project here.

The great challange of payload weight & airtime 

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. 

Learn more about how HD Air Studio can help you achieve undisturbed image stabilization with unusual sensors, demanding operational parameters.

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