Trimble’s new UAS targets big survey, geospatial projects


Holding thumbs that the FAA will come through for them in 2015, Trimble unveils its latest wing.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based, publicly traded (Nasdaq: TRMB) Trimble, with $2 billion in 2012 revenue, uses positioning technologies – GPS, lasers and optics – to focus on applications requiring position or location, including surveying, construction, agriculture, fleet and asset management, public safety and mapping.

Like the X100 but better 
Just like its predecessor, the Gatewing X100 – the market’s first commercial aerial imaging rover – incorporates mission planning, automatic field image acquisition and fully digital and automated image processing software.

Trimble acquired privately-held Gatewing, a Belgium-based manufacturer of lightweight UAVs for photogrammetry and rapid terrain mapping, in April 2012.

The UX5 carries a Sony NEX-5R mirrorless, 16.1-megapixel camera with a fixed focal-length external lens, which has a surface area nearly nine times that of the Ricoh camera carried on the X100, which was already 1.5 times larger than the biggest on the market at the time.

The large field of view from the camera allows the rover to cover 50-75 percent more area to enhance efficiency and reduce operational costs.

In addition to the increase in flight efficiency, the Trimble UX5 is capable of producing 3D surface deliverables with a ground sampling distance of just about one inch.

UX5 is capable of flights between about 250 and 2,500 above ground level and can be flown in light rain and up to 40 mph winds.

The UX5 airframe is comprised of a carbon frame inside expanded polypropylene with impact-resistant plastics and composite fibers used for the aircraft components, including winglets and belly plate, giving the aircraft the ability to withstand rough landings.

Performance enhancements also include the ability to execute steep landing approaches and thrust reversal for accurate and repeatable landings.

The landing procedure starts about 1,000 feet from the landing location allowing the UX5 to be used for jobs that have site restrictions such as buildings, towers or trees.

UX5 aerial imaging app
The Trimble Access aerial imaging application is field software for planning UAS missions, performing flight checks and monitoring flights.

The imaging app is used to define the project area, avoidance zones, and flight parameters as well as take-off and landing locations. In the field, it is used to perform pre- and post-flight checks and download the flight data and images after landing.

It looks tidier than the other popular flying wing that shares the X5 name. The secret sauce in all of this is the post production tools of course and Trimble are expert in that area.