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Mining Drone Orthomosaic (left) and DSM (right.) of a section of the leach pad. DSM is overlaid with 5m contour lines.

FIXED WING SURVEY DRONES IMPROVE WORKER SAFETY AND EFFICIENCY AT MINING SITES


A QuestUAV Case Study from Kazakhstan


INTRODUCTION

Mine operators know that safety precautions are of utmost importance in the daily routine at a mining site. Conventional surveying methods involved considerable effort and resources on the ground.

Starting with electronic tachometers and later with ground GPS, surveyors have had to enter high-risk areas on the ground and spend considerable time to finish a survey. Some of the most acidic areas cannot even be entered as the risk to health and safety is too high. When compared with conventional ground surveying, it has been proven that the use of drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for surveying immensely reduces the exposure to risk for surface workers involved on site.

 

Aerial Survey with QuestUAV 200 Surveyor drone (left) vs. ground survey with a total station (right).

Instead of walking a mining site with ground equipment, areas of whatever risks involved are surveyed by flying over the site. UAV surveys can be done in a fraction of the time of a ground survey and generally provide higher accuracies. Surveying projects that usually take weeks with conventional surveying methods can now be completed in just a few hours. Hence, UAV technology minimizes risks while reducing costs and boosting productivity.


TEAM QUEST IN KAZAKHSTAN


This autumn TEAMQuest was called by KAZ Minerals to help raise safety and efficiency to a higher level than ever before at one of the biggest open-pit mines in eastern Kazakhstan. Two local teams (8 people) went through an extensive two weeks training program on professional flight operations and aerial open-pit surveying with a QuestUAV 200 Surveyor. Following training by QuestUAV, both teams now fly the two Q-200 Surveyors on a daily basis with the following objectives:

View of the mining site (leach pad)

 

  • To monitor mine status
  • To monitor & plan pit and leach pad progress
  • To map & plan infrastructure (roads, buildings)
  • To monitor the perimeter security fence
  • To estimate stock pile volumes
  • To monitor & plan site rehabilitation
KAZ Minerals is focused on copper mining, producing both copper cathode from oxide ore and copper in concentrate. The pit development started in early 2013 supported by extensive surveys on the ground. It is predicted that the mine will become the biggest mining operation in Kazakhstan within the next three years. A crucial part of KAZ Minerals strategy for a safe and efficient pit development is to replace conventional survey methods with latest UAV technology. KAZ Minerals decided to go with QuestUAV as we provide a robust and stable system for difficult environments, high quality sensors and ongoing support for the flight operations.

 


EQUIPMENT AND DATA ACQUISITION


Since September 2016 KAZ Minerals have surveyed their mining sites and expansion areas on a daily basis with two QuestUAV 200 Surveyors. The QuestUAV Surveyor carries a Sony A6000 camera with a 16mm wide-angle lens providing image data down to 2.9cm GSD at 400ft. The images are the basis for 3D models, topographic site maps, infrastructure maps, pit volume estimations as well as maps for security and surveillance. Geospatial accuracy (cm-level) is achieved by combining image data with a combination of permanent and temporal Ground Control Points (GCPs) distributed over the mining site.
Bungee launch of the QuestUAV 200 Surveyor
Generally, the Q-200 Surveyor has been designed to complete high-quality aerial surveys in the quickest way possible in any environments ranging from desert and tropic to glacial and Arctic/Antarctic. The automatic camera trigger and the gimballed camera system allow to take pin sharp pictures even at high wind speeds of up to 55 km/h.

The Q-200 Surveyor is launched with a bungee launch line and is either landed via parachute or belly landing. The latest version of the Q-200 Surveyor comes with a Post-Processing-Kinematic (PPK) option, which provides high mapping accuracies down to 3cm without the need of physical ground control points.

 


APPLICATIONS


Daily flight missions have become an essential part of the KAZ Minerals site planning and mine development. The work of the flight team forms the basis for all further work in developing the mineral resources - distributing information to engineers, planners and geologists. Aerial measurements are used to develop and display the plans, maps and profiles required for mining and exploration. Three of the major applications are explained in the following sections.

 


MINE STATUS


The basic application of the survey results is to provide a general overview of the status of the mine. Orthomosaic, Digital Surface Model (DSM) and 3D point clouds are used to keep the KAZ Minerals management up to date about recent developments in the open-pit and the leach pad. The figure below shows sections of the orthomosaic illustrating the level of detail gained from QuestUAV data.

 

Sections of the orthomosaic of the open pit.

SITE DEVELOPEMENT


Orthomosaic and DSM are the basis for an in-depth topographic analysis of the development of the mining site. Valuable information can be extracted from orthomosaic and DSM, such as infrastructure maps (roads, buildings), water bodies, contour lines, the flow of water, risk maps etc. These datasets in combination with expert knowledge of mining personnel are used for the development of intelligent management plans for the development of the mine.

 

Orthomosaic (left) and DSM (right.) of a section of the leach pad. DSM is overlaid with 5m contour lines.

VOLUME ESTIMATIONS


UAV based measurements are the fastest and easiest way to measure stockpile volumes. Photogrammetric software, such as Pix4Dmapper or Agisoft Photoscan allows to automatically calculate volumes on the basis of aerial imagery. KAZ Minerals has proven that UAV based measurements are not only faster, geodetic accuracies are even higher when measurements are taken from a UAV.

 

3D Model of a stock pile (left) and pile definition for volume calculation (right);red:volume;green:base area.
volume calculations
Volume calculations are performed on the basis of the Digital Surface Model (DSM). The difference between the base elevation of a pile (green) and the pile elevation (red) is the Cut Volume – when the terrain is higher than the base. Fill volume is the volume between the base and the terrain when the terrain is lower than the base. The Total Volume is the sum of Cut Volume and Fill Volume.

 


CLIENT ASSESSMENT


KAZ Minerals stated that the QuestUAV system greatly improved the surveying work at the mining site in terms of:

  • Improved worker safety
  • Higher efficiency
  • Increased site development productivity
  • Higher accuracies of the geodetic work

Nowadays UAV surveys are the basis for all further work related to developing the KAZ Minerals mining site, including engineers, planners and geologists.


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QuestUAV and Toru Tokushige – Founder & CEO of Terra Drone

TerraDrone Corporation and QuestUAV strike up a strategic partnership providing highly accurate large scale surveying services as well as Reseller presence in Japan


Terra Drone Corporation and QuestUAV Strike Up a Strategic Partnership


QuestUAV and Toru Tokushige – Founder & CEO of Terra Drone

Ruairi Hardman (L) Toru Tokushige (M) & Nigel King (R)

In January 2017, Terra Drone Corporation signed a strategic alliance with British fixed-wing drone developer QuestUAV. In the future, Terra Drone will conduct surveying services using QuestUAV's fixed-wing aircraft, sales of the airframe itself and joint development of new aircraft. The QuestUAV products enable photogrammetric surveying with higher precision than competitors' aircraft, and they can be used for large-scale development - such as dams and mega solar.


Features of a QuestUAV Aircraft


  • A large loading capacity (payload), with gimbal mounted cameras for taking high-resolution and high-quality photographs.
  • Aircraft has the stability to work in windy environments.
  • Safe and easy operation by using installed parachute at landing.
  • Terra Drone Corporation.
  • TDC perform laser photogrammetry using drones – creating high-precision three-dimensional drawings in a quick and efficient way, for soil volume estimation. This service aids efficient project management of ongoing construction work. They have an extensive track record with over 300 commissions and orders from major contractors and construction equipment makers.

Terra Drone is part of the Terra Group Companies who manufacture and sell Rickshaws, Electric Motorcycles and Tricycles in Asia, whilst boasting an 85% export sales rate – Terra Motors Co., Ltd sells over 30,000 a year.


 

“We have adopted QuestUAV product as a service, and have concluded a strategic alliance including aircraft sales and development in Japan. Compared to competitive fixed-wing aircraft, the performance of the on-board camera and the stability of the aircraft are improved, enabling more accurate surveying. In addition to surveying service offering and airframe sales, we will continue to develop jointly for further improvement of airframes.” 

Toru Tokushige

Founder & CEO of Terra Drones
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Survey Drone Sensor Gimbal Inforgraphic

HOW A SENSOR GIMBAL IMPROVES EFFICIENCY OF AN AERIAL MAPPING MISSION


QuestUAV Sensor Gimbals Improve Flight Efficiency By More Than 15 Percent


INTRODUCTION

Demands on fixed wing drones are growing continually. Other than copter drones, fixed wing platforms are generally used to cover large areas (hundreds of hectares) in a short amount of time. Standards on flight endurance and efficient area coverage are growing throughout different industries such as surveying, agriculture, mining or surveillance. To create a high-quality 3D model of a survey area sensor performance and image overlap is essential. Sensor and drone platform have to compensate for the effects of wind and turbulences causing blurred images and low image overlap. From day one QuestUAV has been developing gimballed systems and fine tuning platform stability in order to gain maximum quality and performance from a flight mission. The following sections outline the importance of image quality and overlap and show how a gimballed system can increase efficiency by more than 15 percent

 

QuestUAV Gimballed Drones

DRONE-BASED MAPS AND 3D MODELS


Image overlap is crucial...

When mapping an area with a drone or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), the UAV will have to fly and photograph the survey area in a grid-like pattern ensuring that every feature on the ground (e.g. a tree or a building) is “seen” in multiple photographs. For the generation of 3D models, these photographs have to have sufficient overlap in flight direction and between grid lines (side overlap). Photogrammetry software providers like Pix4D or Agisoft Photoscan generally recommend an overlap of 75% frontal and 60% side overlap.

Flight Image Overlap Diagram

Sensor choice and gimbal influence data quality...

Besides image overlap, GSD (Ground Sampling Distance) is crucial for modelling an object in high detail. Hence, a good sensor and a UAV system which enables a stable flight and continuous overlap are essential for the generation of high-quality maps and 3D models, especially in windy and turbulent conditions. Image sharpness and overlap can significantly deteriorate when the UAV is pushed around in moving air. Therefore, a sensor gimbal might become crucial for data quality, spatial accuracies and hence for mission success. Various QuestUAV missions have proven that a gimballed system compensates for effects like blurred or oblique images and lack of overlap.


Stereo Photogrammetry Diagram

Stereo-photogrammetry to extract 3D positions...

Once a feature is photographed from different angles stereo-photogrammetry can be applied after a flight during the post-processing phase. Common points are identified in each image and a line of sight (or ray) can be constructed from the camera location to the point on the object. The intersection of these rays determines the three-dimensional location of the point and in combination a 3D model of the surveyed area.

 


QUESTUAV GIMBALLED SYSTEMS


The sensor is the heart of a UAV and depending on which sensor is flown it will determine what data a UAV is capable of collecting. Ground Sampling Distance (GSD), image sharpness and noise level are all dependent on the sensor chosen for a flight mission. As an example, the QuestUAV 200 Surveyor carries a Sony A6000 camera which captures very high detail with a 24.3 effective megapixel APS-C sensor allowing to acquire data down to 2.9cm GSD at 400ft. The Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor ensures an extremely fast performance, sharp image quality and low noise images, even in low-light conditions.

 

The major advantage of a gimbal is simply to allow the sensor to continuously point directly towards the ground (nadir view), while the aircraft itself is manoeuvring around in yaw, pitch and roll. Especially in high winds, a compensation for the movement is essential to keep the image overlap required for photogrammetry processing. If there is no gimbal the general solution is to increase side overlap. However, increasing the side overlap causes the aircraft to fly more grid lines and turns and hence reduces area coverage and flight efficiency. Overlap recommendations by photogrammetry software providers are generally around 75-80 percent frontal and 60-65 percent side overlap.

 

QuestUAV Gimbals can reduce the image overlap to 40% and still guarantee the data quality.

Various studies with a QuestUAV 200 Surveyor and QuestUAV 100 DATAhawk have proven that a gimballed system allows reducing the image overlap from 65 to 40 percent and still guaranteeing enough overlap for photogrammetric processing and data quality even in high winds. By reducing the amount of grid lines and aircraft turns the already impressive ground coverage of a QuestUAV system is further increased. As shown in the figure below the amount of grid lines is reduced from 13 to 10 and the total path length from 10.1 km to 8.3km - a decrease of 18 percent!

 

Image Overlap Comparison

When compared to an orthomsaic based on 65 percent overlap the 40 percent overlap orthomosaic is equally good in terms of image matches and data quality. The number of overlapping images was in both cases continuously higher than five for each pixel of the orthomosaic resulting in an excellent 3D model of the surveyed area.

 

Orthomosaic Overlap Comparison

SUMMARY


QuestUAV has proven that a sensor gimbal significantly improves the already outstanding ground coverage of a QuestUAV drone. The QuestUAV sensor gimbal compensates for the effects of wind and turbulences causing blurred images and low image overlap. By using a gimbal an area can be flown with only 40 percent side overlap without a reduction in data quality. Hence, mission efficiency is increased by more than 15 percent.


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Surveying Drone Urban Environment

QuestUAV Addressing Safety Standards in Urban Environments | QuestUAV News


QuestUAV Addressing Safety Standards in Urban Environments


 

Introduction

Drone mapping is growing at a rapid rate in almost every country in the world. Unfortunately, incidents with drones are also growing at the same time. Just like any other aircraft, drones not only need to be flown in a safe manner but flight operations need to fully integrated within a countries civil and/or military regulatory aviation environment.

Authorities such as the British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States provide rules and regulations for a safe and legal operation with the aim of minimising dangers to people, property and other aircraft.

In this case study we look at measures and counter measures that QuestUAV have employed to enhance safety when operating in urban environments through the example of our Korean flight team from Hojung Solutions. The team operates QuestUAV drones for a variety of urban applications while they are obliged to follow the strict rules of the South Korean aviation authority. Their advanced in-country training from QuestUAV has allowed new standards to be set for the use of drones for civil applications in South Korea.

Q-100 Surveyor Pro in Flight

Different kinds of UAVs have specific applications. While rotary drones are designed to inspect small areas in highest detail, fixed-wing drones can be operated over long distances and cover large areas in a short amount of time.

QuestUAV has long been a thought leader for safe drone operations and we support the highest standards of safety for fixed wing UAVs.

 


Applications and Safety in Urban Areas


Urban areas have various faces and UAVs can be used for a wide range of applications, starting from mapping urban zoning and expansion through 3D modelling of cities and cadastral surveys to inspecting infrastructure elements such as roads, pipelines and buildings. This study focuses on the experiences of the team from Hojung Solutions in South Korea, presented as an excellent example of the challenges of operating fixed wing UAV in built up and congested areas. Bearing in mind that South Korean safety requirements to UAVs are similar to the UK, QuestUAV drones are setting the standard for fixed wing drones in the country. Most importantly: the Hojung team is well-trained by QuestUAV as manufacturer and 100-percent professional in following safety standards and procedures at any mission.

DATAhawk Survey South Korea
South Korean team in action: pre-takeoff checks of a Q-100 DATAhawk (left) and pilot during flight (right).
 

Primarily the issue of maintaining Visual Line Of Sight (VLOS) whilst still retaining full control of the UAV were the highest concerns. However other issues such as higher rate of local interference, loss of visibility from high buildings, poor selection of emergency landing areas, higher risks of unexpected interferences (including unexpected public interactions and unexpected interactions as and when moving on highways) were of concern.


QuestUAV’s first level of consultation took us to examination of the aircraft, its safety functions and how it could fit governmental regulatory requirements. Parachute, manual and auto landings, motor failure and energy dissipation on impact, risk of unlawful interference and poor GPS signal, were all aspects that were considered and blended into the software and hardware setup for the UAV fleet to be used in South Korea.

The second level of consultation required verification of the QuestUAV system in South Korea and a detailed investigation into training sites that could be used where challenges were realistic but real risks were low. A site on the outskirts of a newly developed city was chosen that provided all the elements density and high structure to the East and North, whilst having open and safe spaces for operations to the South and West.

The on-site flight teams needed to be skilled in a larger range of disciplines. Third level of QuestUAV’s consultation was therefore the standard manufacturer training in South Korea. The lead pilot had also received further QuestUAV training in UK.

                                     South Korea  Drones Chasers Ops Order

Ground Image of the Northern sector of the Survey Area (L) Crew brief and mission preparation (R).

The day to day process of briefing and equipment preparation needed to become an artform that raised standards in every area. One example is to use radio communication disciplines to allow remote observers to participate in an effective safety strategy that covered visibility in blind spots and better forecasting of events that might become risks.


Urban Mapping Examples


Aerial Images from Drone SurveyOur South Korean team from Hojung Solutions has been successfully flying in urban areas since autumn 2015. Their list of achievements is incredible. Some of the most impressive examples are already published on our website. The 300km road survey in South Korea was probably the team’s most difficult challenge.

In order to keep Visual Line Of Sight (VLOS) the flight team had to follow their Q-200 Surveyor drone on the ground in an open car and never be further away than 500m. The team took advantage of the QuestUAV safety features like dual system, ERP and orbiting options greatly supporting the mobile operations.

Other great achievements are the survey of Madang City in Papua New Guinea as basis to design a municipal storm drainage system and several high accuracy topographic surveys for the South Korean governmental survey agency. The figure below shows several examples of urban features and the general QuestUAV image quality.

QuestUAV image quality: Populated high-rise buildings, road intersection including road markings, river weir, village centre.
 

QuestUAV Safety Features In Deail


A well trained crew is of utmost importance for a safe flight mission. QuestUAV places high priority on training clients on a safe UAV operation, which involves more than just practicing takeoffs and landings. The whole workflow has to be practiced over and over again, starting from mission planning, base checks and crew briefing through to operating a UAV in different scenarios and a safe UAV recovery after landing. QuestUAV has long-term experience in operating UAVs in different conditions and for various applications. Proven workflows are one of our outstanding safety strengths.

Q-100 DATAhawk

An outstanding QuestUAV safety feature: the airdock stick launch.

QuestUAV drones involve great safety features, starting with the material characteristics of the UAV itself. Our drones are light but also very robust, meaning that they can absorb a high amount of energy during any impact. Depending on the system QuestUAV drones are launched via airdock (Q-100 DATAhawk) or launch line (Q-200 systems), which avoids direct contact between launch person and drone. QuestUAV drones are generally flown in automatic mode (including auto-takeoffs and auto-landings), but in case of an emergency the pilot can always take control and fly the UAV in assisted or manual mode. Our drones are dual-systems, meaning that either the pilot can take control with the remote control or the commander can operate the aircraft from the flight laptop. QuestUAV drones have an outstanding redundancy, including commercial avionics, fail-safe, geo-fencing, return-to-home options, battery warnings, ERP (Emergency Rally Point) and orbiting options.


Summary


UAVs must always be flown in a safe manner both with respect to other aircraft in the air and also to people and properties on the ground, especially when operating in urban areas. QuestUAV drones come with great safety features to reduce mission risk and provide high quality data at the same time. Professional manufacturer training on flight operation, safety and proven workflows is the outstanding safety feature of QuestUAV.


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Q200 Surveyor Drone Bungee launch by QuestUAV

KAZ Minerals commence UAS survey operations – a photo story


UAS Mining Survey Operations At Aktogay


 

KAZ Minerals operate a large operation at Aktogay in eastern Kazakhstan, with an open-pit mine and on-site concentrator - Aktogay Open-Pit Mine

 

KAZ Minerals Q200 Surveyor Pro

From this autumn KAZ Minerals surveyors have begun to use a Q-200 Surveyor Pro UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) in Kazakhstan. The UAS (also known as a "drone") greatly improves the efficiency of geodetic work, makes the results more accurate and increases the efficiency of developing the site.

KAZ Minerals Q200 Surveyor Pro

The essence of the UAS at first glance is simple: traversing the sky above the survey site along with a neatly planned flight-path, the UAS takes numerous sensor images along with accurate location data for each image. Previously, surveying of this sort would require a lot of effort and resources on the ground - today this is many times faster.What's Involved

Esengeldy Bijanov, Senior Surveyor for KAZ Minerals

Sengeldy Bijanov, Senior Surveyor for KAZ Minerals at the Aktogay mine site

"Surveying services have remained in their current form for decades. Technology developments are continuously being placed in the hands of ordinary surveyors, we are no exception. Originally working one way, we have moved on to electronic tachometers and then with another step into GPS technology. And today begins our work with drones. Very quickly the UAS can obtain very detailed images. Usually, if a company needs aerial imagery a plane is employed, but this is very expensive and cannot always be used for this reason."

 

"Surveying in Aktogay today is mainly a photographic career. The work of the surveyor forms the basis for all further work in developing the mineral resources. Spatial geometric measurements are taken of the earth's surface, which are then used to develop and display the plans, maps and profiles required for mining and exploration"


Kaz Minerals Q200 Launch Preparation

Interview


How often do you collect imagery?

“Daily. To create the planning framework in which each location is shown on the plan, with further work performed by our engineers, planners and geologists. We also perform daily inspection surveys of the ore collected from the mining operations. To this end we have a team of experts trained, 8 at this stage - all fully trained to be able to fly and manage the UAS.”

Who performed the initial training?

“Fully qualified trainers from the UK, direct from the manufacturer of the Q-200 system. The first teams have been trained and now, if necessary we can receive further technical support remotely from the UK.”

Q200 Surveyor Pro Training

Who spearheaded the initiative to buy a UAS for this service?

"The idea came from our chief surveyor, Gavin Cheshire. He is constantly looking for ways to introduce new technologies and new solutions, which can be used at different sites in a range of countries. A number of drone systems were evaluated and compared, before settling on the Q-200 Surveyor"

Drones are a fairly young technology, but they are already available widely - from military use to toy units for teenagers. The UAS you use was created specifically for industrial operations?

“Yes, this is a special Q-200 Surveyor UAS from QuestUAV. The company was founded in 2008 by the CEO, Nigel King - himself a former military pilot and Air Force instructor. They have developed different models, introducing models for civilian purposes - for example, agriculture and large area surveying.”

Q-200 Surveyor UAS from QuestUAV

Dear ?

Reasonably expensive as a package with all sensors and sets of spare batteries


Training and Operations


 

Q200 Surveyor Pro Launch Preparation Training

Operation is probably different to a standard copter?

“Yes, training is not simple, it is very detailed and takes days. The UAS is not just a gadget with a remote - there is a laptop-based station with special control programmes installed on it. Flight trajectory and all flight data is displayed and so on. Another important moment is launch - everything needs to be timed, observed and adjusted for - wind speed, direction, hand position, etc.”

How have your colleagues found the training?

“The theory is supported by the practice. Already there is noticeable progress.”

And you learned how to operate it? I would think that at first, all hands would shake at the thought that you could cause these expensive devices to fall?

“Yes (laughs), but in that case repairs and spare parts can be ordered again, for delivery directly from the manufacturer in England.”

Briefly, tell us about the characteristics of the drone.

“Speed - about 1 km per minute. Maximum range - 55-60 km. One flight can last up to an hour. This is important for large areas and for areas that are difficult to organise flights around. For example, a panel of heap leaching (leach pit) - when they initially have their ore load laid you could get inside to start surveying, but today everything is acidic and direct ground access is severely limited.”

Q200 Surveyor Pro Successful Launch

What will be the next technological leap, I wonder? What do you see next?

“I don't know, it will most certainly be possible to do everything without leaving the office. Prepare and pre-program everything, the aircraft itself will still fly and collect the data, process the results and here you are.”

Esengeldy Bijanov was interviewed by Almas Sadykov

original article (Russian)


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QuestUAV Survey Drone South Korea

Still Flying After 3000km – The Incredible Story of Mango Six | QuestUAV News

AN INDESTRUCTIBLE QUESTUAV “SURVEYOR” THAT FLIES WEEKLY MISSIONS THROUGHOUT SOUTH KOREA AND ASIA

After 3,000 kilometers and 200 hours in the sky, Q-200 Surveyor “Mango Six” is still far away from retirement


 

MANGO SIX - AN AMAZING DRONE

Mango Six is a Flagship of the QuestUAV fleet and commercial drone world. It continues to perform faultlessly, under highly demanding survey conditions with its commercial owner in South Korea, in different countries, different weather conditions, managing rough environments and whatever life throws at it day after day. It goes on and on. So what makes the difference that creates another legend like Mango Six? Is it luck? Or Divine Intervention? Or are there other factors involved? Read on to discover some of its history and the reasons behind its success.


 

CHAPTER 1 – SOUTH KOREA WANTED A WORLD CLASS LEADER


 

A two year search by the major government-based South Korean land survey department to find a suitable fixed wing drone for their survey needs resulted in an invitation to UAV suppliers from all over the world. Their request was simple: Be the best and the most accurate at surveying a large test site in the heart of Korea, where engineers had prepared millimetre accuracy targets. The submitted result had to be a computer based map of similar accuracy but in a jaw dropping size - covering over 1 square kilometre. Inaccuracies of any note would not be costly to entrants.

Incredible Mango Six

Survey team and jury after a successful demonstration of our Q-200 Surveyor

The agency, LX, Korea Land and Geospacial InformatiX Corporation, (similar to Ordnance Survey in UK) wanted to find out how accurate each competitor was and how usable design was in order to roll out to each of its twenty six regions in South Korea. The QuestUAV partner in South Korea, HOJUNG Solutions Co. Ltd, were keen to display the capabilities of the QuestUAV 2m wingspan drone, with its gimballed camera.

Though QuestUAV were last to present from the global lineup of competitors, it soon became evident that QuestUAV held the winning design and what was then to become MANGO SIX was ordered. Training was conducted both in UK and in South Korea for a series of complex surveys.

Details of the performance demonstration for LX are here.

CHAPTER 2 – TRAINING, CREW AND MANGO SHAKES


 

After passing LX’s accuracy test, the QuestUAV trainer team spend two weeks in South Korea to prepare the new flight crew of Hojung Solutions for their upcoming surveys. The team, led by Munseok Lee (second from right) received special training on mobile operations and corridor surveys.

After long hard training days, QuestUAV trainer Nigel and the crew rewarded the daily progress in the famous coffee bar - Mango Six. Mango Six became the team's relaxing oasis, briefing room and training headquarters in one. Ten mango shakes later, the crew decided to title their Q-200 Surveyor “Mango Six”. Who would have thought at that time that Mango Six would become one of the most famous UAVs in Asia?

Nowadays, the highly motivated team of Hojung Solutions consists of 3 pilots and 2 commanders accepting the most challenging survey requests.

Incredible Mango Six

QuestUAV Flight Team "Mango Six" from Hojung Solutions Co.


 

CHAPTER 3 – 300 KM ROAD CORRIDOR


 

As a result of the great performance during at the flight demonstration, QuestUAV and Hojung Solutions were awarded a contract for a 300 km road and corridor survey for LX. The project had already been given to an Australian contractor, but when it became apparent that Hojung/QuestUAV partnership could do a much better job with a Q-200 Surveyor, the contract was reassigned.

The survey was conducted in the Jeollabuk-do province, in the southwest of South Korea, in October 2015. The 300 km road corridor, including routes in mountains and through tunnels, was flown with Mango Six, equipped with a Sony A6000 camera, over a period of one month. While Mango Six was taking high-resolution imagery from 400ft, the flight crew followed the route on the roads being surveyed in their vehicles. In order to also cover the road-sides, Mango Six flew a few extra lags for a combined mission length of 1,280 km. One intended purpose of the collected data is to allow government departments to determine illegal land use along road-sides.


 

CHAPTER 4 – UAV STANDARD VERIFICATION

Incredible Mango Six

QuestUAV's successful entry into South Korea in the news

South Korean authorities are very strict in their UAV verification standards - much higher than the European CE standards. On average, it takes six months for equipment to pass the equivalent verification in South Korea. Once verified, products can be released for general use.

LX clearly required verification, and to the credit of Munseok Lee and QuestUAV collaboration, Hojung managed to pass South Korean verification in a record breaking one week. Prior certification to operate QuestUAV models in UK, Europe, America, Canada, and Australia helped speed up the process.

Since verification, the South Korean authorities were so impressed by our technology and safety standards that QuestUAV is now the reference standard for fixed wing drones in the country.


 

CHAPTER 5 – OUR RÉSUMÉ AFTER ONE YEAR


 

From maiden flight up until today, Mango Six has spent more than 200 hours in the sky and covered a distance of 2,929
kilometers.

The Q-200 Surveyor has been used for a vast variety of applications, ranging from cadastral surveys, to inspection missions, to archaeological site mapping through to flying over festivals (Muan-gun Lotus festival) and stadiums (Yeongam-gun F1 Formula Stadium).

The teams at Hojung Solutions are now busier than ever, currently conducting a large survey mission with a Q-100 DATAhawk in Tanzania. Mango Six, in the meantime, is joined by three other Q-200 Surveyor drones and two Q-100 DATAhawks, all producing great results for the clients of Hojung So.

Incredible Mango Six

Mango Six's survey history after one year operation

CONCLUSIONS

So what do we think has elevated MANGO SIX into its Flagship category? There are a number of reasons, but the most important are:

Incredible Mango Siz

The QuestUAV fleet at Hojung Solutions

DESIGN.

Mango Six is a standard QuestUAV Q-200 Surveyor that has been proven to be efficient, rugged and reliable on all continents of the world. Its design has been improved through thousands of tuning elements to become an incredibly efficient and capable survey tool.

TRAINING.

The team had proper training, with two distinct phases spread over three months. They learned to use the aircraft properly and with correct procedures in the first weeks, then moved on to advanced training with a QuestUAV instructor only after those basic skills had been proven.