Deep Forestry a Swedish startup specialized in robotics and machine learning focusing on the inspection of forests had a specific request: can you build a drone that can navigate autonomously in the forest, between the trees and under the canopy. And is sturdy to carry all the necessary payloads for data gathering and still have a completely stable flight trajectory?
Working closely with the Deep Forestry Avular adjusted the Vertex94 drone as to meet Deep Forestry’s requirements allowing for precise forest inspection. This includes adding a 3D spinning LiDAR, 4 cameras and a high-power computing platform but also a modification to the airframe to allow for carrying the extra weight and ensuring minimal impact on the sensors’ field-of-view.
How it works is that the 3D LiDAR is mapping the forest area by creating a so-called point cloud which provides a high-accurate 3D representation, like a map, of the forest. As the LiDAR is unable to ‘see’ colors, the cameras are being used to add real-life colors. The result is a digital representation of the forest area including all kinds of information like tree location, species, diameter, volume, and curvature.
- Size 45x45x50cm (LxWxH) (props folded)
- Weight 3.9Kg
- Height LiDAR
- 4x camera (5MP color)
- 3D spinning LiDAR
Compared to the standard Vertex, this drone is much stronger and heavier equipped. The high-power computing platform allows for processing of vast amounts of data while enabling the customer to run their software for autonomous flying at the very same time. Although the drone can be operated by remote control, the typical scenario is for the drone to fly autonomously using RTK-GPS for localization and LiDAR to map (and avoid) objects in the forest.
Deploying the Vertex94 there are a variety of benefits that can be realized:
- Faster data acquisition & reduced costs.
- Enhanced safety.
- Greater flexibility and reduced use of fossil fuels.
- Greater flexibility when it comes to scheduling activities.
All the above makes the Vertex94 easier to use than traditional vehicles for managing forest resources on a day-to-day basis.