The world's first commercial drone with collision avoidance LiDAR

SUAS News posted an article today about the Kespry Drone 2.0, a commercial drone that is advertised as requiring minimal human input during a mission. It has a forward looking LiDAR sensor specifically for obstacle sensing and collision avoidance. This might be that first commercially available drone to have LiDAR as standard equipment.

Looking at their website, I see that Kespry is offering cloud services to go with their new drone. This fits nicely into the business model that CA has suggested is essential for the long term sustainability of a modern drone company. Lasers and cloud services, I wish I'd thought of that! 

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Comment by Laser Developer on August 31, 2016 at 3:38am

@Rob - yes, beam steering is possible by moving the lenses or by adding a steerable mirror-on-a-chip into the beam path. Another solution to creating a wider scan pattern is to use a multi-beam laser. Typically the beam separation is 3-5 degrees and we produce a 3 beam version in the same form factor as our other products. This allows smaller movements to produce more coverage.

With smaller laser modules in the pipeline, there's also the option of moving the entire module with a voice coil.

I can't comment on Kespy's business practices but I think that technically they are becoming a serious player in the drone market. It's easy to talk about what might be, as exemplified by the numerous KickStarter failures, but I am always excited when a company manages to get a product out there and learns first hand about the pros and cons of their chosen technologies. And yes, they like all of us, will make many mistakes!

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on August 31, 2016 at 4:29am

They definitely are funding a LOT of advertising, I see it all the time as I surf the web, and they are often a sponsored result when I'm Googling for UAV related stuff.  I assume growing pretty quick.  I've seen them capture customers in this area.

But at least in Canada, I wonder if they will face a backlash when customers start getting fined by TC for operating without a permit.

Comment by Gary McCray on August 31, 2016 at 11:20am

Hi LD,

I was actually already wondering about a purposeful flight pattern for directing the laser beam.

On a quad, really easy to fly forward while inducing a "conical" say movement of the laser beam and also sweep it back and forth and or up and down a bit just by purposely "wobbling" your copter.

Certainly not the most efficient means of beam control, but it could work and as long as you know where you were and where you were pointed you could assemble a potentially useful point cloud or more realistically just "fly scan" for obstacles in the flight path.

You could even use that method to "focus" on particular objects of interest.

Your SF 33 - 3 Beam sensors could certainly make this kind of application easier to implement. 

Not quite the same thing, but the Velodyne puck  LITE rotary scanner has 16 channels, of course they aren't giving these things away, $7000.00 plus I believe:

http://velodynelidar.com/vlp-16-lite.html

Voice coil / galvo, great idea, that is actually how laser reflection mirrors are already commonly operated and with the entire unit getting so small it makes perfect sense, (those things are power hogs however.)

Best Regards,

Gary

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