Transmission line LiDAR UAV survey

Posted on September 16, 2019 in Hazardous environments and Vegetation management

LiDAR for Drones – Rekon Solutions

Watch the video of Routescene customer Rekon Solutions Inc, set up and fly with the LiDAR for drones system. The team collected 3D laser point cloud data. This survey took place at Silver Star Mountain in British Columbia, Canada. It was a conductor, vegetation and ground clearance inspection of transmission lines.

We interviewed Vashaun Henderson, director of Rekon Solutions about his experience of this survey.

Q1. How long did it take to prepare the site?

A1. It took about 3 hours to set up and prepare the site with Ground Control Points (GCPs) before we were ready to fly. The flight went perfectly, the Routescene LidarPod, the UAV and all systems operated as they should.

Q2. What did you have to consider before take-off?

A2. For planning the flight we have to consider the take-off and landing site and the proximity to the powerline. A 230kV powerline has a magnetic field that can disrupt normal operation of compasses which would affect flight systems of the UAV. We also had to consider wind, altitude and temperature. Winds needs to be below 28kph, Altitude below 6500ft and temperature below 40 degree C and above -10 degree C.

Q3. How easy was it to process the data?

A3.To produce a point cloud from the Routescene LidarPod takes minutes with the right computer hardware. From there we take the point cloud into a third party software to classify points and analyze clearances.

Q4. Were you able to view the data on-site?

A5. Before we left the field, using a laptop we were able to download the .lpd file and view the results of the scan.

Q5. What do you like about about LidarPod and LidarViewer?

A5. The speed that the information can go from the LidarPod into LidarViewer and out as a point cloud is so much faster and more accurate than other methods like photogrammetry. Photogrammetry is a heavy processing task. It takes a long time to produce a point cloud. And also does not have the ability to produce DTMs where vegetation covers the ground as we can with the LidarPod and LidarViewer.

Q6. How did the Routescene LidarPod perform?

A6. The LidarPod performed well by providing a dense and accurate point cloud representing the conductor, towers, vegetation and ground.

Q7. What are the benefits of Lidar for drones for power line inspections?

A7. Inspection of powerlines using UAVs with Lidar systems in our experience can save the client up to 40% when compared to the convention helicopter line inspection process. Whilst saving money the client also receives a richer data set. With Lidar for drones the powerline needs to be accessible by vehicle and the UAV scanning will take 5 to 6 times as long as the conventional helicopter method.

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