Professional drone pilots are benefitting from a fast distance- to target data being streamed to their live video feed to assist with complex flights in close proximity to potential obstacles and hazards.
The TeraRanger Inspection Drone Kit utilises the small, lightweight (8g) and high-performance TeraRanger One distance sensor/s and a small electronics board to interface to the live analogue video feed. Two kits are available, one with a single sensor and the other with three sensors but the solution can support up to 8 sensors, simultaneously monitoring different directions.
Greg Watts, Commercial Manager at Terabee explains, “TeraRanger distance sensors are optimised for use in lightweight mobile robotics, and drones are one of the main applications we support. Our sensors are frequently used as a precision altimeter to give relative distance-to-ground data and for collision avoidance around the perimeter of the drone. By displaying the distance data to the live video feed we can give pilots valuable information and an added level of security”.
A free configuration tool is available which allows the user to position the TeraRanger distance-to-target data anywhere they like on their drone controller screen and to set up threshold values so that, should the distance to a target be less than the threshold, the distance data will flash until the threshold distance has been re-established. This gives the pilot a useful visual warning of potential hazards.
Greg Watts continues, “We were, in fact, our own customer for this, using the solution to support a project high in the French alps where barometric altitude data was insufficient and where fast, reliable, distance-to-ground information was needed. We also placed a sensor on the gimbal, along with the camera, so that we could maintain a consistent distance from the infrastructure we were inspecting. By taking the images at the same distance, the post-mission data processing becomes much easier to handle and is a real advantage for photogrammetry projects.”
The TeraRanger Inspection Drone kit can be mounted on any drone and is totally independent of the flight controller, with distance-to-target data from the sensors being overlaid on existing telemetry data. The kit, along with a demonstration video, is available from the TeraRanger eStore at http://www.teraranger.com/product/inspection-drone-kit/