QuestUAV Drone Sensors
Your Ultimate Control
Drone Sensors Systems
We take a Sony A6000 and put it through sixty modifications to bring it up to spec for the Q-200 Surveyor Pro. With a rugged gimbal, manual control and prime lens, this really releases the full capacity of this incredible camera.
Combined with our industrial remote sensing workflows the Sony A6000 has a proven track record for high stability and precision accuracy.
We use this sensor, mounted in a faraday cage, for our flagship Q-200 Surveyor PPK. The winning optics and camera control allow us to position images with GPS and GLONAS to an unbelievable accuracy of 3cm when flown at 400ft.
Designed by QuestUAV engineers, this sensor is a proven, robust and low cost method of capturing both high resolution (5cm) NDVI images and using the RGB part of the sensor for straightforward RGB Imagery.
The sensor is gimbal mounted in one of our ruggedised cradles, designed for both the Q-200 Agri Pro and Q-300 Custom designs. This system has been operating successfully for three years in agricultural systems around the world.
For a case study highlighting the use of this system see a case study on agricultural erosion.
The TEAX Thermal Capture unit combines specially developed capture hardware with a FLIR Taux 2 LWIR Imaging camera that is capable of capturing and recording thermal imagery at full PAL resolution. This sensor also comes with license-free analysis software with intuitive user interface allow you to analyse and export your data in various outputs. Using this technology allows the user to quickly identify the range of different heat signatures being given off at the chosen survey area. This is a particularly good choice for industrial applications like pipeline inspections where “hot spots” can be detected at an early stage.
The Mini-MCA system contains 4 or 6 factory-aligned multi-spectral cameras. Each camera contains a customer-specified narrow-band filter that is inserted between the lens and sensor. With each exposure, 4 or 6 separate bands of visible or near-infrared radiation move through each camera’s lens and filter to form a separate monochromatic image on the camera’s sensor.
The multi-spectral images captured during each exposure enables you to identify plant stress factors, soil types, fertilisers, or insecticides; differentiate plant species or recognise other plants, soils or chemicals.
Having worked with many different RGB sensors for the DATAhawk, we now use a Sony QX1 and a prime lens for the clearest and most detailed imagery available from any fixed wing drone in its class.
The camera is gimbal mounted in the body of the drone and held in a vibration isolation cage. The 20Mp sensor is automatically controlled by the drone autopilot to trigger at preset points on the flight path, taking all unnecessary decisions away from the operator.
The winning combination of camera, lens, gimbal and wifi camera management software creates the most popular sensor for the DATAhawk. With full control over exposure, speed, trigger time, ISO, and many other parameters this makes the image capture experience an easy process.
When flown in the DATAhawk the combination of automatic triggering and stable flight makes data capture a simple task. Autolaunch, Autolanding, simple grid planning and parachute landing are all great features to assist easy data capture.
The proven, reliable, 5 Channel Multispectral Camera is suitable for both our DATAhawk and Q200 range. Read the Micasense brochure here and find out for yourself.
Correct Sensor Choice: 5 Things To Think About
"How do I get the best data from a drone" is almost the same as "what is the right sensor to buy and how can I become an effective operator of the sensor".
Don't be deceived by claims of the drone doing everything. It won't. A drone sensor for aerial mapping is a highly developed piece of equipment. Difficult and complex parameters will be managed by the drone software, but others challenges need to be managed in a systematic way by you in order achieve 100% results. QuestUAV staff are here to help you through the decision-making process that will achieve incredible results.
Here are some questions to help you through the decision-making;
- "How easy is the Sensor to operate?"
- "Is there a proven workflow to get from camera setup to final results"
- "Does it come with clear instructions for operation within the drone"
- "Will the drone ensure that good, unblurred images are taken, and pictures that cover the whole area of interest?"
- "Is there support from real people that I can talk to when I need help?"
Behind these basic decisions or choices are more complex decisions and issues that need to be addressed. Before deciding on a good drone system you will need to ask;
Resolution. What resolution is fit for purpose? 1cm, 3cm, 5cm, 20cm etc. How does this relate to the height the drone is flown at and the lens of the sensor?
Coverage. What overlap and what side lap is best for optimal coverage? Will the drone be able to cover the area required with the right resolution and right overlap in the wind and weather conditions you want it to work in?
Spectral range. What Spectral Range is required and how many channels of light? What is the light level going to be like".
GPS Accuracy. What accuracy in terms of GPS positioning? Will you need ground control for accuracy, or an RTK/PPK equipped drone for ultimate accuracy?
Shutter Limitations. Will Rolling Shutter or Global Shutter have an impact?"
Stabilisation. What drone features minimise the effects of forward movement during shutter release? How will sideways or roll movement of the drone be compensated by a gimbal? Do I need a gimbal?
Distortion Errors. "When does barrel distortion become unacceptable?
Triggering. "How to trigger? How long to trigger? When to trigger and when not to trigger? "How much does the delay in time from trigger to shutter cause position errors?"
Let us help. Each of these questions and much more may be important to answer prior to purchase. The great news is that QuestUAV has a dedicated team ready to talk to you and help you through the process of sensor selection and optimisation.
Understanding Drone Sensors : A Simple Explanation
Ground vs Aerial Photography. A drone operating a camera is a very different challenge to a photographer on the ground operating a camera. The photographer has the intelligent choice and rapid options for the best selection of his subject. He can move it around, make focus changes, speed changes, aperture changes and keep it steady using a tripod. Put the camera in a drone and much of the control is lost, requiring preset parameters, a good control system and a stabilisation system that keeps the camera steady in flight.
QuestUAV System Control. We understand these aerial requirements in depth. For eight years we have been learning how to compensate for the factors that affect aerial imagery from drones. A mix of training, sensor modification, gimbal design, API design and flight planning software allow our drones to fully compensate for the lack of an onboard photographer.
Quality Management. An effective drone sensor also needs quality management at many levels to ensure a consistent result, from its initial design concepts right through to customer support and post processing optimisation.
Get the Right Drone. Get the right sensor AND the right drone. With QuestUAV you can guarantee to get the best advice to help you achieve this.
QuestUAV Sensor Design Team
There are a large number of sensors available on the market, some specifically for drones, some are scientific sensors, some are off the shelf consumer cameras that have been modified for drone usage.
To the untrained eye, a drone sensor could just be a camera bought from a shop and then popped into a drone. Nothing is further from the truth. Achieving high-quality commercial results requires a system that has been carefully developed and optimised for professional use.
At QuestUAV it is normal for the integration period for a new sensor to take six months to a year, taking into account research, control, API design, air-testing, optimising and then commercialising.
Our Sensor Design Team involves staff within the company and with sensor designers such as Tetracam, Optris, MicaSense, Sony and Pentax.