Terra Drone’s Innovations take off at Brisbane’s Myriad Festival
Terra Drone Corporation’s ground-breaking innovations captured attention at Queensland’s Myriad Festival, with founder and CEO Toru Tokushige outlining the company’s vision for growth in the Sunshine State.
Held at the Brisbane Powerhouse from March 29-31, the landmark tech and innovation event established for “creators, connectors and collaborators” attracted more than 2,000 attendees, with the support of the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland initiative.
Japan’s leading unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) provider, Terra Drone demonstrated some of its industry-leading UAVs and specialist LiDAR (light detection and ranging) capabilities at its display booth, which attracted a constant stream of visitors eager to interact and test Terra Drone’s technology first-hand.
Brisbane branch chief Tsuyoshi Honda along with Terra Drone Australia’s Jeremy Sofonia fielded a range of queries on the company’s technology and its benefits for Australia’s agricultural, construction and resource sectors.
QuestUAV and Terra Drone
On display at the company’s booth were a range of UAV models, including QuestUAV’s Datahawk, a fixed wing drone offering high-grade data and accuracy.
In January, Terra Drone formed a strategic alliance with the British manufacturer, including aircraft sales and development in Japan.
Ruairi Hardman, General Manager at QuestUAV (L), Toru Tokushige, CEO of Terra Drone (M) and Nigel King, CEO of QuestUAV (R)
“Compared to competitive fixed-wing aircraft, QuestUAV’s drones offer superior performance of the onboard camera and aircraft stability, enabling more accurate surveying. In addition to providing a surveying service and airframe sales, we will undertake joint development to further improve the airframes,”
Speaking at the festival, Mr Tokushige outlined the company’s vision, its reasons for establishing a base in Queensland in early 2017 and its expansion plans.
“My original vision was to establish a ‘mega venture’ from Japan, bigger than Apple or Samsung,” he told a large audience.
“In one year, we became the number one drone company in Japan. So now, we would like to bring our solutions to the Australian market,” he explained.
The Australian market is so important to us as there are so many applications here. In Japan there are mainly construction applications, but Australia has opportunities for applications in construction, mining, utilities, agriculture, and environmental areas,” he added.
Mr Tokushige explained how Terra Drone’s technology could provide both productivity and safety benefits for Australian industry.
“There are many surveyors still doing surveys the traditional way, which is very costly and takes time. By using a drone, you can dramatically reduce the time and cost. For example, 40 hectares would traditionally take two weeks, but our drone can do it in one day, while it also offers improved accuracy with a margin of less than 5 centimetres,” he said.
Terra Drone has already proven its capabilities at more than 300 sites in Japan, working with blue-chip clients including Hitachi, and aims to replicate its Japanese success across Australia.
He applauded the Queensland Government’s efforts to support technology start-ups like Terra Drone to drive innovation.
“Events like tonight highlight the fantastic work being done by the Queensland Government and further demonstrates its commitment to innovation and business growth throughout Queensland. I hope to see more innovative events like Myriad in the near future,” Mr Tokushige concluded.
Welcoming international companies to the festival, Queensland’s Innovation Minister, Leeanne Enoch, said the Palaszczuk Government was committed to diversifying the state’s economy and showcasing innovations to international investors.
“Technology start-ups will help support more than half a million knowledge-based jobs of the future by 2033, which will further enable research and innovation, and drive productivity,” the minister said in a statement.
About Terra Drone Corporation
Based in Tokyo, Japan, Terra Drone Corporation is a provider of innovative UAV solutions to the agricultural, construction and mining and energy sectors, using its cutting-edge technologies. CEO Toru Tokushige has 20 years’ experience in establishing start-ups, including in Silicon Valley, having earned a reputation as the “Elon Musk” of Japan due to his success with disruptive technologies. Terra Drone’s shareholders include the former CEOs of Sony, Apple Japan and Google Japan.
High Altitude Survey Drone Trials Bring Success for South American Company
Ecuador based Pilots Fly QuestUAV DATAhawk at 3700m ASL (12,000ft) for Municipal Tax Calculations
One of QuestUAV's research partners has been running a series of test flights with a 2kg fixed-wing DATAhawk in the Andes, for cadastral mapping and the calculation of municipal taxes. The following case study is the result of trial flights to evaluate the performance of the DATAhawk aircraft at heights above 3000m ASL. Read on to find out about the extreme conditions faced and the challenges of high altitude drone missions.
Prepping for the Flight
There are a wealth of diverse applications for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the high resolution, information-rich data they provide. One of the various disciplines supported is the registration of properties through municipal cadaster - storing information that is used for calculation of taxes according to the surface and characteristics of the property. Whilst the data collected can be used directly for these calculations - it can often inform and direct policies that the controlling agencies implement.
Due to the importance of these type of activities, the manner in which the property measurements and characteristics are taken are of the utmost importance. Controlling agencies need to take into account that there are places and regions that are difficult to access to carry out the cadastral survey, as is the case for areas with steep features. Risk to the survey personnel attempting access is also important and it is here where the usage of UAVs is important. UAVs are used to obtain territorial information through photogrammetry, leading to the production of orthophotos that allow the technicians to evaluate the territory remotely with an acceptable precision, with a correspondingly short time until the required information is available.
Land use is rarely arranged in a straightforward manner across flat areas, near populated, low-lying centres - instead being rather distributed throught the region of any particular territorial district. In the case of the town of Quero, which is part of the Tungurahua province in Ecuador, the terrain characteristics are typcial of Andean territories. The common features of these areas are:
- Ground heights of 3000 to 4000m ASL and higher.
- Mostly mountainous or steeply graded landscapes.
- Almost no purely flat areas.
- Areas of interest of mainly populated with agricultural activites embedded alongside.
To evaluate the performance of the DATAhawk aircraft at heights above 3000m ASL, in order to use the aircraft in cadastral updating missions.
Identification of the test site
Any suitable test site must take into account the reality of the landscape in which any future work is to be carried out. In addition, considerations included documentation from QuestUAV, locating a site with good visibility and minimum obstructions found when performing flight operations - especially for landing. In view of the small availability of sites with all of these characterstics in range to be visited physically for evaluation, sites were initially selected with the help of Google Earth. Two test sites were then chosen:
Image 1, Testing site locations (Ecuador, South America)
Image 2, Testing site locations (Ecuadorian Central Andes)
|SITE NAME||12 DE OCTUBRE||SAN ANTONIO|
|LOCATION (LAT/LNG)||-1.462387°, -78.700757°||-1.419822°, -78.610576°|
|TEMPERATURE||5 °C||15 °C|
|WIND SPEED||20 km/h||5 km/h|
|FLIGHT TIME||7 min||11 min|
|COVERAGE||54 Has||24 Has|
In order to carry out the Flight Plan, it was necessary to carry out a site evaluation to determine the location of the ERP and the landing site - all whilst also taking into account the planning and operational recommendations proposed by QuestUAV.
San Antonio Community Case
Aside from taking into account the flight considerations already stipulated by the company, there has also been an emphasis on the physical landscape of the area. In the case of San Antonio, there are no completely flat areas, but rather they present differences in levels over relatively short distance. This makes it necessary to have detailed analysis of the different terrain heights, in order to ensure the aircraft will fly at 400 feet altitude from the initial point and that it won't encounter any obstacles within the safety area. A graphic displaying the heights that would be under the safety radius was made which was used to verify the heights of the land and the obstacles that could put the flight at risk, like trees or houses.
Image 3, Site verification of the polling place and to determine the heights within the security radius.
Image 4, Diagram showing the locations of obstacles under consideration
The flight plan was with the planning software included with the DATAhawk. All previously mentioned requirements were taken into consideration. In addition the safety radius was extended to 800m, due to the terrain conditions and the lack of regulations for UAV flights in our country, which allows for a better range of possibilities when maneuvering the aircraft to fly the course required to collect the overlapping ground images. Care was taken to ensure that a suitable distance was maintained so as not to lose sight of the aircraft.
Image 5, Flight plan created with standard DATAhawk planning software (included)
Each takeoff was performed with the Short Launch Line, due to the height conditions. The launch line allows for greater safety at the time of takeoff, in addition to the providing the initial thrust so that the aircraft could enter in normal flight envelope.
All takeoffs were successful.
Image 6, Verification of the flight plan on-site
Image 7, Pre-flight checks on the DATAhawk
Image 9, Aircraft in flight at 400ft (3135m ASL)
Image 10, Orthomosaic created from data collected during San Antonio trials
Image 11, Orthomosaic created from data collected during San Antonio trials (zoomed)
Image 12, Digital Surface Model created from data collected during San Antonio trials
October 12th Case
The conditions nencountered during the tests carried out in the community on the 12th October were a little different. The selected trial location presented the characteristics of a predominantly flat terrain, however the overall height of the exercise had a base of 3600m ASL. As a result, it was determined to follow the recommended steps during the development of the Flight Plan:
Image 13, Flight Plan created with standard DATAhawk planning software (included)
Image 14, Verifying the flying area and the climate conditions.
Image 15, Pre-flight checks on the DATAhawk
Image 17, Post landing procedures
Image 19, Orthomosaic created from data collected during 12th October trials
Image 20, Orthomosaic created from data collected during 12 de Octubre trials (zoomed)
Image 21, Digital Surface Model created from data collected during 12th October trials
Treatment of images
The results obtained in the two test flights performed are of good quality. This is due to the capability of the aircraft and the design of the flight plans, since the objective was mainly to get an orthophoto of the sector and to verify the performance of the aircraft at high altitude.
The data processed with Pix4Dmapper Pro photogrammetry software is shown below:
Image 22, Data processing performed in Pix4Dmapper Pro
- It is necessary to carry out base and flight checks in addition to the consideration of the terrain at the time of flying. This will help ensure the safety of personnel and the aircraft.
- The aircraft is launched using the added safety feature of a launch line. The use of this feature enables the aircraft to be launched safely in environments with high altitudes.
- The aircraft takeoffs normally and safely for personnel, since the short launch line is a good alternative in places where greater aircraft performance is needed as with high altitude.
- Landing the aircraft safely is the most crucial part of a UAV flight. It is therefore important to have a clear landing site due to the level of care and attention that is required to land the aircraft safely. Should the situation arise where there may not be a sufficient place to land, parachute landing is available as a safe alternative.
- QuestUAV recommend carrying out many test flights until "you lose the fear of control" after which, will make the flights more natural.
- The Q100 DATAhawk drone has fulfilled our levels of expectations of performing in altitudes that are above sea level. The aircraft and sensor captures clear and sharp imagery proving outstanding processed othomosaics and flythroughs. Therefore it is our recommendation that the Q100 DATAhawk drone be used to perform flights in harsh terrains.
Topcon Survey Yanqing District with Fixed Wing Drone
Roctech- Topcon, QuestUAV's Chinese reseller recently surveyed the Yanqing District, located North West of Beijing, China as part of a UAV demonstration. The team used QuestUAV's Q-100 DATAhawk drone to survey the area and processed their images using the Pix4DMapper software.
Beijing Topcon Business & Trade (BTBT) are a Positioning Business, which uses high-precision GNSS positing technology to achieve the automation of civil engineering construction and farming. Topcon supply a range of survey technologies globally including QuestUAV's Q-100 DATAhawk drone.
BTBT with QuestUAV's Stuart King and Q-100 DATAhawk
Watch the flythrough:
Precision UAV Showcase the Q-100 DATAhawk at the 49th Tennessee Association of Professional Surveyors Conference
Precision UAV (formally Your Precision) attended the 49th annual Tennessee Association of Professional Surveyors (TAPS) Conference. The company showcased QuestUAV's Q-100 DATAhawk over a two day period.
Visitors at the conference were keen to see the fixed wing drone with Precision UAV reporting a great response to the Q-100 DATAhawk with many responding positively to the design and price compared to competitors.
Precision UAV Logo
Precision UAV Conference Stand
Q-100 DATAhawk on Show at TAPS
Overall I thought the TAPS event was a great success. We were able to talk to many customers about UAV technology and introduce them to the QuestUAV DATAhawk option.
QuestUAV DroneGirl's Study Reaches Regional News
Kerstin with the Article
Kerstin is a QuestUAV DroneGirl
The results of a four-year study into coastal erosion, by Kerstin Traut, on a Northumberland Coastline has been published in the Northumberland Gazette.
The study has become part of a shoreline management plan for the county to help the county manage risks in a sustainable way.
QuestUAV’s owner and CEO, Nigel King, says drones have a valuable role in recording and assessing change in many areas, and coastal erosion is just one.
The study, using high accuracy global positioning (GPS) of hundreds of scientific images, has not only highlighted the degradation on parts of the coastline but actually managed to quantify the loss in volumetric tonnes using advanced aerial techniques.
Kerstin Traut is an international Drone Operator for QuestUAV and has commanded commercial drone missions across the globe. Her work as a QuestUAV DroneGirl has reached audiences the world over. Kerstin has a degree in Remote Sensing from East Germany’s Jena University and has worked with QuestUAV for three years.
To read the study click here.
To read more on Kerstin and QuestUAV Team click here.
QuestUAV DroneGirls React to "Sexist" Comments
Jo Harris, QuestUAV DroneGirl
Jo Harris, female marketing consultant at QuestUAV wrote an article entitled “Drone Boys vs Drone Girls” on 21 Feb 2017.
SuasNews received a complaint following the publishing of the article complaining that the article was “flagrantly sexist, male-centric and benighted”.
The complainant went on the say “You owe your readers, both female and male, an apology for posting such a degrading article.”
The following is a statement from QuestUAV director Nigel King, defending the author of the original article “Drone Boys vs Drone Girls”.
Kerstin... "It was an ironic piece phrased in an unassuming way to show women's presence in the drone world."
DroneGirls Kerstin and Carla on PPK trials
DroneGirl Jess and Her Dad
Comment By Nigel King. QuestUAV Director
“Jo Harris, my marketing publicist, is a DroneGirl through and through, having been in the industry for five years now.
She was itching to write a piece on one of her favourite subjects; That woman have as much a right to a role in the drone world as anyone. (And by process of deduction that simply means as much as any man!).
I gave her my blessing. And then hid under the desk….
Now we have a saying here in the North of England. Jo Harris “isn’t backward in coming forward”. It means she is pretty outspoken. Most DroneGirls are.
In fact let me tell you a little about my female staff in general…… the “DroneGirls” of QuestUAV.
Kerstin Traut, international drone operative, the smallest of my DroneGirls, can throw me to the ground quicker than anyone I know. Donna can organise accounts better than a Ninja warrior can dispatch enemy heads. Heather is fearless, loves her bright red lipstick and tells me I don’t work hard enough. Actually so does Jess, my grandaughter (part time worker). Jo Harris looks after a family of five and still manages at least four days a week at work. Carla Taylor took one look at the picture of the guy that wrote the complaint and went “he’s cute’ and promptly sent a Linkedin invitation to him. Between them they do a hundred different jobs including, yes, drone stuff.
Don’t you love it that kind of variety and uniqueness? I do! Life wouldn’t be the same around here.
So, who was to know that Jo and her DroneGirl colleagues, in all their feminine uniqueness, would be then hailed as (I quote)
“Flagrantly sexist, male-centric and benighted”, degrading their own feminine uniqueness in a “demeaning”, “sexual” and “callow” way.
For real? Having read the complaint, the members of the pink flight-line naturally looked at each other with that “very confused” look. And then took great interest in the writer of the complaint… Believe me, it’s a dangerous situation for a bloke to be in the middle of.
Their accuser is, it seems, a MALE drone business owner, unable to identify Jo’s sense of humour OR identity as a the DroneGirl who penned the article (Two pictures of her were in the article).
When I asked Jo for a statement on the validity of the complaint Jo said in typical Jo Harris simplicity….
DroneGirls Heather, Carla and Jo
Our Pink DATAhawk, icon of the QuestUAV DroneGirls
The complainant has since requested to withhold his complaint from being published but has demanded an apology from SUAS news on behalf of the rest of the world.
Well, truly, to anyone who has been offended (only one that we can make out so far) we offer our genuine apologies. There is no offence made at all. We hope that any reader can read between the lines of humour to the real message that each DroneGirl is a professional and rightly treated (and paid) as such.
My message to Mr Fox is; “Do you really want to take these DroneGirls own self expression and competence out of their own hands and protect them with some faux grandeur that you want to call anti-feminisim? If so I suggest you go and find a woman who doesn’t want to have a door opened for her and then don’t open the door for her. Just don’t try it on here. It’s not welcome.”
Kerstin, DroneGirl, also had something piercing to say.
“I’ve travelled the world, operating complex UAVs all over the world and done missions that Luke probably cant even dream about. I’m not an arrogant person. I know about my knowledge and my skills and therefore this article isn’t sexist at all. I feel like I am a professional UAV operator and this article was just an interesting way to show our take on DroneGirls in the industry. It was an ironic piece phrased in an unassuming way to show our presence in the drone world.”
Grande Cote Complete Manufacturers Training
Papa Mamadou came from Senegal on a mission to learn how to operate the QuestUAV Surveyor Pro on his Grand Cote mines. A great character, full of smiles and fun, he braved the roughest of English weather and Storm Doris to complete his training with us.
Some quotes from him both in English and his native French tongue.
“Wonderful good great I enjoyed my time"
"Javoue vraiment davoir passer d’excellent monments avec l’equipe QUESTUAV. Cetait une occasion pour moi de decouvrir northumberland et decouvrir aussi lhospitalite anglaise. Du professionalisme et de lexcellence chez Quest UAV et lhistoire ne fait que commencer sachant que nous avons un grand chemin a parcourrir ensemble.”-Papa
Drone Boys vs Drone Girls
Kaz Operator During Training, Kazakstan
Female QuestUAV Pilots, Philipinnes
Pink QuestUAV DATAhawk
Heather Ainsworth (left), Carla Taylor (Centre), Jo Harris (Right)
by Jo Harris, DroneGirl, QuestUAV
The face of the Drone industry is changing. Girl power is taking an increasingly important role in the Drone industry. And not before time.
It has long been proven that women have skill sets in engineering, training and project management that more than complement their male counterparts.
Enter Drone Girl. A new breed and welcome force in the rapidly changing fashions of the Drone industry.
As a male driven hobby, given the focussed engineering that goes into the build of a drone or UAV, it’s not surprising that men were historically at the forefront of the game. But as the Drone Industry has flourished its not surprising that girls have decided it is their frontier too.
At QuestUAV we have a team of 20 people, almost a third of whom are women. Two of our staff are truly “Drone Girls” and fulfil roles on the flight team itself.
Kerstin Traut is our Geoinfomatics and Remote Sensing Specialist and UAV Operator. She is often complemented on the fact that a mission runs smoother when she is on the team, it is better organised and more productive. And more fun! She has carried out missions in Germany, UK, Philippines, Thailand, Cyprus and Indonesia.
Carla Taylor who comes from our Sales Team has recently carried out her Flight Commander training and joined our flight team on a recent demo in the USA. She found that being a woman on the flight team created positive dynamics, particularly on the States. Of course an English Accent helped.
Jo Harris and Heather Ainsworth are on QuestUAV’s Marketing Team and keep up to date on daily drone news. Jo comes from a Multirotor background and has a thirst for drone technology and enjoys reading up on new developments, which she applies to the formation and editing of QuestUAV’s news articles. Heather has spent quite a bit of time with both our social media followers externally and our research, development and production teams internally – as a result she is one of our more fluent members of staff when it comes to our drone technical specifications.
Throughout the drone industry more women are getting involved, SheFlies in Australia are becoming a big hit and even launching demo and training days in Australia and New Zealand. QuestUAV are followed by many female pilots around the world and they are finding out first hand that our product is designed to be easy-to-use – something the male pilots have been keeping to themselves when showing off their mission prowess.
Already the QuestUAV product is being flown by several female clients who have attended training at our UK based flight school. A fixed wing drone package is a leading solution in the Mining, Surveying and Agricultural sectors. For those who look to benefit from the survey outputs without the expense of managing their own flight teams, QuestUAV offer Industrial Services as well as sales of the product.
Links to Drone Girls websites:
Drone Girls http://thedronegirl.com/
She Flies http://www.sheflies.com.au/
Woman and Drones http://womenanddrones.com/
The Helicopter Girls http://thehelicoptergirls.com/
QuestUAV Releases New High Performance (HP) Wings for DATAhawk
With an increase in surface area of around 22%, out new HP wings are having a significant boost for users where high altitude and/or turbulence are key factors to overcome. The image shows the new (HP) wings in black and the standard wings in grey.
The wings are a straightforward retro-fit with no changes required to the standard DATAhawk.
The wings increase the ceiling of the DATAhawk to 10000ft and beyond and have the effect of reducing the stall speed; a benefit in turbulent conditions. The wings also improve launch capability in light winds.
For more details including pricing contact sales@questUAV.com.