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Q200 Launch

QuestUAV Taking Off in Indonesia – GGP Team Successfully Completed First Training Flights


The Crew at GGP Performed Well at Their First Q-200 Agri-Pro Flights


After Theory Comes Practice

After two days intensive classroom training and lots of new information to take in, the GGP (Great Giant Pineapple) crew was ready to go out and gain the first practical flight experiences. Under supervision of the QuestUAV trainers, Nigel and Stuart, the team conducted their first three successful flights; practiced auto take-off, flying in different modes (auto and assisted) and parachute landing.

 

Q200 GGP Indonesia

Crew Roles Are Assigned and Tasks Clearly Defined

Our QuestUAV trainers are teaching two flight teams, who will operate two Q-200 Agri-Pros independently at the GGP plantation. Each core flight team now consists of a fixed pilot and a laptop commander. Their task and responsibilities are clearly defined by the QuestUAV rule set in order to guarantee a safe and smooth flight operation at GGP. Other people at GGP are helping with transportation, site setup and catering. At some stage today the flight team was supported by more than 15 assisting persons!

Q200 GGP Indonesia

We Have The First Results

The first camera flights brought us stunning pictures from the pineapple fields. Images are taken with both a visible camera and an infrared camera and are going to be processed into orthomosaics and NDVI maps for the assessment of plant health and crop status.

We are looking forward to seeing the first processing results and further flights of a great new QuestUAV flight team!

Crop Post Processing
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Q200 Agri Pro

Q-200 AGRI Pro International Training Continues Apace in Indonesia


QuestUAV Training Team Starts Large-Team International Training with the Q-200 with GGP


One of QuestUAV Ltd's flight training teams arrived in Indonesia this past weekend, to provide in-country training for GGP (Great Giant Pineapple). Sunday saw the completion of a successful series of test flights with Q-200 AGRI Twin NDVI aircraft.

Q200 Indonesia

Training began in earnest yesterday and today saw the first flights with the flight teams in-country. Some 18 people from these teams (and other GGP staff with a need to understand the technology) are taking part in QuestUAV international training within Indonesia this week.

Q200 Indonesia

Project Background


GGP grow a majority of premium Pineapple crop, although they are also responsible for Banana, Palm Oil and Casava plantation areas and a growing segment of other tropical fruits. The plantations are over 30,000 Ha in area. UAV images and the UAV project are phase one of GGPs initiative to integrate precision agriculture firmly within their growing processes. Phase 1 of this initiative are the UAV flight, monitoring and image collection missions that this current training is enabling. Phase 2 will see GGP purchase large GPS-driven farm machinery to make use of the GIS output provided by the teams in Phase 1.


 

Q200 Indonesia Pineapple

QuestUAV trainers will continue to assess and instruct the flight teams throughout this week and into next. We will keep you posted.


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Learn How the QuestUAV Team Conducts the Annual Overhaul of an Intensively Used Q-200 Agri-Pro |  1

Learn How the QuestUAV Team Conducts the Annual Overhaul of an Intensively Used Q-200 Agri-Pro


Learn How the QuestUAV Team Conducts the Annual Overhaul of an Intensively Used Q-200 Agri-Pro


 

The Dole crew on the Philippine island of Mindanao is certainly one of the busiest QuestUAV flight crews ever. They continuously fly the fields of the worlds largest pineapple plantation with two of our Q-200 Agri-Pro drones.

They acquire aerial images for a variety of applications, such as topographic surveying, erosion measurements, disease mapping and growth monitoring.

After more than 200 successful take-offs and landings, Dole has sent their much loved “Agila” back to QuestUAV for an annual overhaul. This overhaul was to include inspection, upgrades and replacements. Within three days of arrival of the kit in UK they would expect to get a full upgrade.

Q200 Annual Inspection
Adam, UAV engineer, taking pictures of every UAV component                                                                                                                                                                                         

After receiving the UAV, we start with a general inspection of the equipment.

We start the overhaul with comprehensive checks of the general condition of the whole UAV system, including A-frame, wings, cameras and flight laptop. All components are photographed and recorded. The initial assessment is important to estimate time and costs for repairs, upgrades and replacements.

Rather than replacing items wholesale, we make use of the modular QuestUAV design, retaining all parts that are still functional and in good condition. This method safes both costs for the end user and reduces unnecessary resources in the supply chain.


Then we start with the technical overhaul.

Q-Pod...

The Q-Pod is the UAV body and carries the system components, including: A-Block, cameras, gimbals and wings.

The modular design allows to easily replace and repair retired components without replacing the whole pod.

In this case the Q-Pod had received a lot of wear and tear from rough landings on the plantation. A new one, complete with upgrades made over the past year, was drawn off the shelves and prepared for integration. The upgrades included reinforced sideplates, lighter gimbal, and slightly denser EPP foam. 


 

Q200 Annual Inspection

Old A-Block (left) and new A-Block (right)

Q200 Annual Inspection

Q200 Annual Inspection


Avionics Block...

The Avionics Block (A-Block) is the heart of the UAV, which carries the motor and the autopilot system.

After assessing the condition of the A-block and carefully checking the autopilot, we again decided to upgrade the existing system rather than replace everything. The autopilot was still in perfect condition and, again, the modular design allowed to exchange components rather than replace the whole A-Block. We retained the autopilot, logger and receiver and integrated these components into the new generation of our A-block frame.

The new A-block provided a more powerful motor, an upgraded ESC providing more cooling and more battery efficiency, improved anti vibration mounts and improved wiring layout.


Wings...

After more than 200 landings in pineapple fields, though the wings would have carried on giving good service, we decided that the wings needed to be retired, if only to look better. They were replaced by a brand new pair of wings that were waiting in our stock (complete with new and more powerful digital servos). The old wings were immediately destroyed.

Q200 Annual Inspection

Adam assesses the wing condition (left). Nigel destroys the wings after the decision to replace them (centre). And Jon attaches the new wings to the Q-Pod (right).


Cameras and Gimbals...

Q200 Annual Inspection

The whole purpose of a flight with the Q-200 Agri-Pro is to acquire high quality images in visible light and near infrared. Therefore, cameras and camera gimbals went through a careful assessment and a functional test procedure.

After thorough testing and cleaning the Dole cameras are still classed as working perfectly – a testament to their design and protection. Only a new gimbal was required to continue to balance the camera movement during flight.

Testing and protocoling the functionality of the near infrared camera.

After two days of checks and an overhaul the UAV is ready for airtesting.

Before "Agila" can fly back to the Philippines, it has to pass our standard airtest for maiden UAVs, including take-off and parachute landing, flight in different modes (auto, assisted, manual) and several autopilot and telemetry checks. Agila passed all tests with flying colours and is ready to be shipped back to Dole Philippines.

Q200 Annual Inspection

Callum and Cameron doing pre-takeoff checks (left). Callum launching the UAV (right).


The completely overhauled UAV was shipped back to the Philippines on the third working day.

The whole UAV overhaul, from receiving the package through receipt, assessment, repairs, replacements and airtesting took 48 hours – an important factor for a drone that is needed for constant use by the clients. Following documentation and export control the upgraded Q-200 Agri-Pro got repacked to its rugged box and was shipped back, on the third day, via an express UPS service , to the Dole team in Polomolok.

Q200 Annual Inspection

Adam and Ryan prepare the UAV for shipment (left). Carla is waiting for UPS to pick up the box in front of our workshop (centre). Box is handed over to UPS (right).


An aside...

Providing a fast turnaround comes with complications. One of the biggest is the weather and airtesting in whatever conditions the British weather throws at us. During this maintenance schedule we were experiencing unusually high winds for our late spring period.

At times like this we just get on and manage….. there is no time in our busy airtesting schedule to wait for ideal flying days and the QuestUAV fleet are designed to cope with all manner of weather conditions.

The image shows just how windy this day was. It has been worse!

Q200 Annual Inspection

Strong winds in Northumberland - 22 knots on average!


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Q-100 DATAhawk |  DATAhawk Cyprus

From UAV mission to topographic map – DATAhawk delivers | QuestUAV News


Follow a Q-100 DATAhawk survey mission from planning to processing


QuestUAV’s last survey in Cyprus has once again proven how easy it is to cover a large area (4 sq km) in a single flight with the Q-100 DATAhawk. The entire survey from flight planning, through the autonomous flight and culminating in parachute landing took no longer than an afternoon. The UAV images were processed and output to an orthomosaic and an elevation model - all within the intuitive image processing software - Pix4Dmapper Pro. The processed images were the basis for the generation of high quality topographic maps and a detailed hydrological analysis with the open-source GIS software, QGIS.

The whole workflow, from flight planning to flying the area with the DATAhawk through to image processing and GIS analysis, took no longer than 2 days. Our workflows are tested more than a hundred times - they are quick and very easy to use and can be learned by anyone needing to streamline their missions. Learn more about our workflows by watching the video below and by contacting the QuestUAV team.

Follow a Q-100 DATAhawk survey mission from planning to processing | 2
DATAhawk Mission Planning

 

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Archaeological Dataset

QUESTUAV SURVEYS A 4 SQKM ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE IN ONE FLIGHT WITH THE Q-100 DATAHAWK | QuestUAV News


QuestUAV Surveys a 4 sqkm Archaeological Site In One Flight With the Q-100 DATAhawk

QuestUAV Team Successfully Flies Paleapaphos in Cyprus - The Birthplace of Aphrodite


In the context of the RSCy2016 Fourth International Conference on Remote Sensing and Geoinformation of Environment in Cyprus, the QuestUAV team went to survey the area of Paleapaphos (The Old Paphos), the mythical birthplace of Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and beauty. The area is an important archaeological site, about 16 km from the city of Paphos, including remains of temples and several excavation sites. The project area had a size of 3.8 sqkm and was imaged within a 50 minutes flight. The images will be used for detecting changes at the excavation sites and mapping of looting holes.


Mission Details


The QuestUAV team flew the area at 400 ft with a Q-100 DATAhawk, equipped with a Sony QX1 camera. The total mission, from flight planning until landing took us no longer than 4 hours. We acquired more than 850 high resolution images with a GSD of 3.5cm. The weather was sunny with medium wind strength. After 50 minutes flight time, we smoothly landed the DATAhawk with parachute into higher grass.

 Q-100 DATAhawk in car

DATAhawk recovery after parachute landing (L). Q-100 DATAhawk in the car (M). Image analysis in a restaurant (R).


Image Processing and Outlook


We processed the images within 10 hours with Pix4Dmapper Pro and generated a high resolution Orthomosaic and Digital Surface Model (DSM) covering the whole survey area. Orthomosaic and DSM are the basis for further analysis and the generation of archaeological site maps. The QuestUAV team will keep you updated about the outcome of this study.

Paleapaphos

Paleapaphos (The Old Paphos), the mythical birthplace of Aphrodite


Interactive Orthomosaic


(courtesy of DroneLab)


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Pafos World Heritage Site mapped by QuestUAV team with Q-100 DATAhawk |  1

Pafos World Heritage Site mapped by QuestUAV team with Q-100 DATAhawk


Pafos World Heritage Site mapped by QuestUAV team with Q-100 DATAhawk


QuestUAV team successfully complete narrow-window operational survey.

Pafos Archaeological Park saw the modern meet the ancient world when a QuestUAV pilot and commander team used the Q-100 DATAhawk professional mapping drone to successfully complete a narrow-window operational survey. A mere 15 minute flight allowed the team to collect 410 high-resolution images (with a 3.5cm GSD) across a 1.1km2 region of this famous UNESCO World Heritage site near Pafos harbour. The weather was sunny with medium wind strength.

Pafos World Heritage Site mapped by QuestUAV team with Q-100 DATAhawk | 2 Pafos World Heritage Site mapped by QuestUAV team with Q-100 DATAhawk | Pafos World Heritage Site Dataset Pafos World Heritage Site mapped by QuestUAV team with Q-100 DATAhawk | Pafos World Heritage Site Dataset

Survey images from Kato Pafos Archaeological Park (Q-100 DATAhawk)


Mission Details


Pafos World Heritage Site mapped by QuestUAV team with Q-100 DATAhawk | 5
Nigel (L) and Kerstin (R) arriving at Pafos

The international survey was commissioned by the Cyprus University of Technology at the RSCy2016 Fourth International Conference on Remote Sensing and Geoinformation of Environment in April 2016.

The team arrived on-site for a “narrow-window” survey and were completed and off-site within 3 hours. Similar surveys performed from a UK base of operations could be concluded within 2 days, including planning and travel.

 


 

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Northumberlandia

Topography Survey of Northumberlandia | QuestUAV News


QuestUAV Discovers the Secrets of the Lady of the North

A Topographic Survey Adventure


About the Lady of the North

Northumberlandia is her name and she is a huge landform sculpture in the shape of a reclining female figure in a community park near Cramlington in Northumberland, Northern England. She is 34 metres high and 400 metres long, made of 1.5 million tonnes of rock, clay and soil. She was constructed in 2012 as part of the restoration of the adjacent Shotton surface coal mine, providing a new landscape and great piece of art for the community to enjoy while the mine is still operational. The Lady is now a living piece of the countryside that will mature over time and change with seasons. She is certainly only the start of something that will evolve through generations. Northumberlandia's winding shape is only visible in whole from a birds-eye perspective and therefore presents an exciting showcase for aerial surveying and mapping techniques. This study shows how QuestUAV mapped the Lady of the North with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and how the professionally processed images reveal her topographic secrets, like contour lines, watersheds and runoff channels.

 

Mapping Northumberlandia


The QuestUAV team flew Northumerlandia with the surveying drone Q-200 Surveyor-Pro, equipped with a gimballed Sony A6000 camera. The whole country park, with the Lady in the center, has a size of 19 hectares and was covered within one flight at an altitude of 400ft. The acquired images are of excellent quality with a GSD resolution of 2.9 cm. The raw images were processed with photogrammetric processing software Agisoft PhotoScan. An in-depth topographic and hydrologic analysis was completed with different tools from the open-source GIS software, QGIS.

                   Northumberlandia Q-200 Surveyor Pro Drone Survey

Paths at Lady Northuberlandia (L) and a Q-200 Surveyor Pro used for the survey (R).


Topographic Analysis


The basis for a topographic analysis of a surveyed land is the Digital Elevation Model (DEM). A DEM is a digital representation of a terrain's surface and can be directly generated from the UAV images. Each pixel of a DEM image contains an elevation value and allows an analysis of the surveyed land in 3 dimensions. The DEM of Northumberlandia is shown below. Different colors represent changes in the surface elevation. The Lady apparently is not lying on even ground. Her base rises from south in northern direction. Roads winding around her body like terraces. The whole body is a filigree 3-dimensional relief of fine details.

Digital Elevation Model

The DEM of Northumberlandia was used for further topographical and hydrological investigations by means of a Geo-Information System. We used the open-source software QGIS to create the following information:

  1. Delineation of the visual relief of the terrain (hillshade)
  2. Calculation of contour lines
  3. Delineation of watersheds
  4. Delineation of the flow of water (drainage networks)

The results of our hydrological analysis are shown below.

 

Digital elevation model of the Lady of the North


Processed Aerial Image Northumberlandia Topographic parameters delineated from the Digital Elevation Model


Summary


Our study shows that aerial images taken with the QuestUAV Q-200 Surveyor Pro drone are an excellent tool for in-depth topographic mapping and surveying. Images taken with a QuestUAV drone can be processed in software packages like Pix4Dmapper Pro or Agisoft Photoscan. Highly detailed orthomosaics and digital elevation models are the basis for delineating topographic parameters such as contour lines, drainage networks or watersheds inside a GIS. Northumberlandia, the Lady of the North, provided a stunning showcase of the potential of using drones for aerial surveying and topographic mapping.

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Q-100 DATAhawk popular at RSCy2016 |  1

Q-100 DATAhawk popular at RSCy2016


Q-100 DATAhawk popular at RSCy2016


Demonstrations and presentations sparking more interest in QuestUAV's professional compact mapper.

Now at the midpoint of a 5 day conference, the show staff are in full swing demonstrating the Q-100 DATAhawk and the Q-200 Surveyor Pro drones and giving presentations. The RSCy2016 Fourth International Conference on Remote Sensing and Geoinformation of Environment has delegates attending seminars and workshops as diverse as remote monitoring for archaeology and applications relating to natural hazards and disasters.

RSCy 2016
RSCy 2016

Fixed-wing mission capabilities under discussion.


The Q-100 DATAhawk and the Q-200 Surveyor Pro are both high resolution mapping drones with professional capabilities. Multiple sensor types are available for each aircraft - from standard 21MP RGB sensor in the DATAhawk and the Sony a6000 24MP sensor available in the Surveyor Pro, through to the multispectral Micasense RedEdge in the DATAhawk Ag and the Agri Pro Q-pod for the Q-200 airframes. The DATAhawk is designed with rapid deployment and recovery in mind. Both aircraft can fly missions up to 60 minutes in length and have parachute recovery options - each airframe has grown from the iconic QuestUAV legacy of safety critical design and precision manufacturing.

Nigel King discussing the Q-100 DATAhawk
Q-200 Surveyor Pro capabilities

Nigel King discussing the Q-100 DATAhawk (L) and Q-200 Surveyor Pro capabilities (R)


High resolution imagery presentations show off UAV successes across a wide range of applications


Trying to squeeze the wide variety of success stories into an engaging presentation is proving challenging, but the show staff are still finding ways to enjoy their walk-throughs.

Q-100 DATAhawk at RSCy2016
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Hojung Dataset across Madang City

Hojung Deftly Manoeuvres QuestUAV’s Surveyor Pro drone Across Madang City, Papua New Guinea


Hojung deftly manoeuvres QuestUAV's Surveyor Pro drone across Madang City, Papua New Guinea


 

Taking a break from missions and demonstrations across South Korea, and in conjunction with client management and local city officials, QuestUAV’s partner in the SK - Hojung Solutions Co., Ltd, flew their Surveyor Pro UAV across Madang City in Papua New Guinea.

The visit was originally scheduled to facilitate the capture of detailed maps of a 0.2ha area for update planning of the client’s drainage system developments. Once local city officials and client management saw how quickly a successful survey could be completed (on day one), they requested plans be drafted, approved and executed for a second day’s mission to survey a much larger area – the entire city. The resulting image set – some 1600+ images was collected in a single flight.

Due to the low-lying location and the safety requirements of this excursion, Madang Air Traffic Control categorised the UAV flights as standard aircraft and tracked accordingly. The ATC tower is the highest structure in Madang City and although UAV flights are generally planned to be autonomous, ATC staff coordinated with the flight team in real time to guide the mission within their airspace to enhance safety even further. The weather was sunny, with temperatures of 34 degrees and winds of 4.5 knots. Processing was completed in Pix4Dmapper Pro.

 

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Windthrow Image

How Windthrow Impact Can Be Assessed With UAV Intervention | QuestUAV News


How Windthrow Impact Can Be Assessed With UAV Intervention

High Resolution UAV Images As Basis To Determine Stem Volume Loss


Project Background

North England experiences some of the windiest and wettest weather in Europe. North English forests are regularly hit by high winds and when these are accompanied by heavy rainfall they pose a big threat to the stability of forest stands. Windthrow is one of the greatest threats to forest stands in North England and assessing the economic impact of windthrows is a main part of the forestry in this region. Our study shows that QuestUAV images are a cheap and effective tool to rapidly determine windthrow extents over up to 500 hectares per day at a flight altitude of 400ft. Freely available Geo-Information Systems (GIS) allow a forester to create UAV-based windthrow maps and to quantify the loss in stem volume and hence the financial loss.


Project Scope


Our study was carried out at Matterdale, a forest stand situated within the Lake District National Park in the county of Cumbria. The forest extends to 290 hectares and is planted with Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis) and Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) of different age groups.

                                    Q-200 Surveyor Pro Pre Flight Checks Q-200 Surveyor Pro Pre Flight Checks

Getting ready for takeoff (Pre-flight checks on the QuestUAV Q-200 Surveyor Pro)

Early 2015, a winter storm hit the forest and caused windthrows over the whole stand with significant impact on the forest stability and economic rotation cycles. Shortly after the storm event QuestUAV, in close cooperation with the Forestry Commission England, flew Matterdale forest with the objective to cover the whole stand with high resolution, up-to-date images, in order to map the extent of windthrows and determine the lost stem volume.

Orthomosaic and Digital Surface Model (DSM) of Matterdale Forest

Orthomosaic and Digital Surface Model (DSM) of Matterdale Forest

We flew the forest with the QuestUAV surveying drone Q-200 Surveyor-Pro, equipped with a gimballed Sony A6000 camera, capturing high definition images with 2.9 cm GSD resolution at 400ft. The raw images were processed with Pix4Dmapper Pro. The resulting image products (figure below) provide the basis for windthrow maps and stem volume calculations, which were conducted in the open-source GIS software, QGIS.


Results and Conclusions


The graphic below shows how windthrows can easily be identified in a UAV orthomosaic. Affected areas were mapped out quickly and with highest accuracies. Our study revealed that windthrows occurred in two sub-stands of Matterdale forest. Three areas with a total size of 3.5 hectares were destroyed by the storm, which is 1.7 % of the total sub-stand area.

UAV orthomosaic (left) and windthrow map (right, including stand information)
UAV orthomosaic (left) and windthrow map (right, including stand information)

By combining the windthrow extent with forest inventory data on species composition, tree age, mean tree height and stem volume, we determined the lost stem volume in cubic meters (table below). In summary, 1,945 m3 stem volume has been lost over 3.5 hectares during the storm event.

Windthrow Tree Results Table
The lost stem volume is determined by combining forest inventory data with UAV map information

Our study reveals that QuestUAV drones allow a quick targeted response to monitor forests after hazardous events. Drone-based maps are a quick and cheap alternative when compared to conventional methods on assessing the scale of an event on the ground.


 

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