RQ-84Z AreoHawk is now is service in NZ after a months trial in Canada and NZ.  We are acquiring 8 Sq/km in 36 min from 400-600 AGL and endurance 90 min+ -in 25 km 'hr winds.

Sensor is Sony Nex-5, Migrating to Sony Nex-7 in one week (when they arrive).  Our Terrain Aware IP allows for dynamic operations factoring in wind direction, DEM, overlap requirements and acquisiton rate depending on ground speed.

No need for catapult.  Parachute recovery (automated) and unique Pitot tube that doesnt get blocked in rain.

Hand launch is very solid - 70 km/hr in 1 sec and high angle climb to loiter altitude.

Our photogrammetry software AREOGRAPH hi density DSM including ground control and tone, colour matched ortho mosaics delivered in 1 Sq/km tiles pixel alignment and most nadir images promyted removing parallax error.




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Comment by Krzysztof Bosak on October 22, 2011 at 8:04pm

Hi, what overlap are you using for areograph?

Comment by Rowland on October 22, 2011 at 8:37pm

It depends on the output.  We are acquiring on both the upwind and down wind legs.  Typically we aim for 90% for 3D point cloud generation. How we achieve this with all the variables is our IP - have been doing this for 6 yrs now both in Military and commercially.

Comment by Krzysztof Bosak on October 22, 2011 at 8:58pm

Assuming 65.5deg horisontal viewing angle, from 600m AGL you have ground photo width best case 772m.

From 14.6mpix digicam you have 17.5cm/pixel resolution from that altitude, BTW.

With that high altitude, merely 80% overlap and camera looking wide side along the wings, you still have (100%-80%)*772=154m leg spacing only.

If you want to acquire reasonnably regular pattern with 8km2 surface, say 2x4km, let's take

4000/154 legs 2km long. this is 26*2 + about 6km on leg joints and turns best case (immediate, infinite G turns), 58km pattern length.

If you can do this in 36min, you fly at 96km/h.

With 90% overlap this would be 110km pattern length and 183km/h average cruise speed, correspondingly.

Certainly there is something seriously military here.


Comment by Rowland on October 22, 2011 at 9:07pm

We have a wider horizontal viewing angle and 20 Megapixel sensor and we are not flying a strict grid nav waypoint flight plan.  In NZ the terrain is very copmplex.   Attached is the evidence.  Gorund speed ranges from 50 - 90 km/hr

Comment by Krzysztof Bosak on October 22, 2011 at 9:24pm

Nice example. 3 legs and... by eye... 50-60% side overlap? That sounds reasonnable.

What means well performing processing software, by the way.

Comment by Rowland on October 22, 2011 at 9:37pm

Yes processing is king, especially with wide angle lens. Its taken 18 months for Areo to fully optimise for this type of aquisition.   Its hard to say what the side overlap is, I think you're right - 50% is about right but it does change with terrain.  We used to acquire about 4-5 Sq/km per hour with the old UAV but now I think we are relaiably at 10+ per flight.  this total flight time was 55 min - I spent about 15 min dodging windmills to set parachute recovery!.  The more time we can put to acquisition vs launch and recovery the better. 

Comment by Rowland on October 22, 2011 at 9:41pm

Oops and I have been told off by one of our staff,  the acquisition was complete at 42 min not 36.  I recall 36 min for the task complete and we continued for another 6 min for some extra.  This was the first time I had flown for a good 6 months.  Boss needs to get out of the office more!

Comment by Gary Mortimer on October 22, 2011 at 11:37pm

That's a very pretty airframe, I like!

Comment by Krzysztof Bosak on October 23, 2011 at 10:08am

Yes they use the AUW very efficiently.


What most ppl dont realise on this market is that the more elongated the surface is, the easier is to get high total surface. As a result we have photo_width*(flight_time*airspeed) surface best case, but this has nothing to do with regular, square map area you can achieve.

For example 600agl, 772m ground width, one hour flight time at 60km/h over straight line and you already have... 60*.772=46.32km2. Yet, the typical map as we know it is less or more rectangular, little elongated, and that sticks in ppls mind.

The market reality is anybody with 500-2000g styrofoam claims surfaces in Pteryx or Hawkeye regions and this is why I always show this calculation. If we go insane we will be forced to quote numbers in 100km2 regions that nobody will be able to achieve in practice, such poor marketing would harm the market creating 'unfulfilled illusions trauma' for the clients, which are mostly fresh to the subject. Sad reality is that some makers of small systems instead of complement their fleet with something more troubled but larger prefer to pump up the statistics.

Comment by Mike on October 23, 2011 at 10:22am

Krzys - the flight time is relatively trivial in the scheme of things - unless we are talking days. Getting to the site, good ground control and photo processing are where the real time is taken - so as far as marketing goes the km2/hour is a distraction from the reality of the overall turnaround time.


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