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QuestUAV Survey Port of Sunderland using PPK Datahawk

An RGB land survey at the Port of Sunderland used 1400 images to create a 150 hectare pointcloud and ortho image.

sunderland, port,

QuestUAV Ltd was commissioned to undertake an orthographic survey for the Port of Sunderland in the UK.  The 150 hectare survey used one of QuestUAV's Datahawk PPK fixed wing drones, equipped with a Sony RX100 RGB camera capable of a 3cm resolution at 400ft.  The survey took one day to complete, including travel induction, risk assessment and setup of Trimble base station.

QuestUAV was chosen due to its ability to image relatively large areas of land in a short time and process to a high standard using professional techniques that can be verified using classical survey methods.  The QuestUAV team of two CAA qualified pilots chose two different sites for launch and landing to keep the drone visible always.

When airborne, one pilot acts as remote drone controller and one acts as commander with laptop and telemetry communications, at all times the drone is kept in visual sight by at least one member of the team.

One geolocated high resolution image is taken automatically every 2 seconds by the drone.  The total flight time was 1hour and fifteen minutes in which total of one thousand eight hundred images were taken of which one thousand four hundred were used for the survey.

The final processed results were given to our client three days after the completion of the flights.  Post processing came next with the generation of a point cloud and ortho model.  The resulting survey accuracy was within 5cm absolute accuracy, based on 12 check points from around the survey area.

QuestUAV has a professional survey team that has operated for ten years. The company also manufactures fixed wing drones for commercial survey use around the world.

Port of Sunderland Data Examples

Copyright QuestUAV 2018

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QuestUAV Closes Deal to Map World’s Largest Construction Project

QuestUAV Closes Deal to Map World’s Largest Construction Project

Client comes all the way from Kazakhstan to hand pick his drone

aardvark wings

QuestUAV welcomed Paul Reynolds of Aardvark LLP to their head office this week to hand pick his new drone fleet.  Aardvark and QuestUAV are about to embark on mapping the world’s largest construction project in Kazakhstan.

QuestUAV already have a good connection with Kazakhstan after many years supplying drones and having a hands-on approach there in 2016 raising safety and efficiency for a copper mine working with Kazminerals.

Initially approaching QuestUAV for a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) to withstand extreme weather and handle temperatures below -24 degrees; a good relationship was already moulded with Aardvark LLP.  Once finding out more about their project QuestUAV were more than happy to supply Aardvark with the most efficient fleet.

They have initially procured two Q200 Surveyor – Extreme Weather Packages to their extensive fleet including the popular PPK Package.

Aardvark recently completed their extensive manufacturers and UK CCA PfCO training at QuestUAV Flight School and are ready to start operating using their new drones in Kazakhstan.

Here is some brilliant footage of the QuestUAV Q200 Surveyor Pro out in Kazakhstan with Aardvark LLP.

 

QuestUAV is the longest running fixed wing manufacturer based in the UK.  They Design, Build and Fly small fixed wing unmanned aircraft (sUAV) that carries sensors including high-resolution cameras, infrared, thermal, multispectral and video surveillance.  Their network of clients spans across 6 continents and contains strong links with World-Leading Universities and Research institutions.

www.questuav.com

Call:  +44 1665 479042

Email: sales@questuav.com

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New Features to All QuestUAV PPK Products

QuestUAV PPK Septentrio Integration

In this article you will read everything you need to know about QuestUAV’s recent integration that will vastly change the UAV marketplace.

QuestUAV now include new features which will improve GNSS and Inband Interference. These are only available with the QuestUAV PPK products.

QuestUAV DATAhawk PPK
DATAhawk with Septentrio reciever

Thanks to the new Septentrio high-performance, ultra-low GNSS receiver, QuestUAV can offer clients All-in-view multi-constellation and multi-frequency satellite tracking capabilities. Not only this but our packages also carry the latest anti-jamming technology.

Quest UAV will take advantage of the Multi Constellation and Satellite Technology, appreciated by their Clients in the Southern Hemisphere.  This System now includes support for GLO, BDS, GAL and IRNSS. Accuracy from the QuestUAV products have increased greatly since the integration of the Septentrio reciever boards in the aircraft.

During this integration project QuestUAV have worked closely with highly skilled and experienced experts in this field of work to ensure that all tests and accuracy’s are reliable.

QuestUAV products accuracy using Septentrio’s receiver have been tested and proven, as can be seen in the whitepaper for these products (White Paper available on request)

All new features will be included in the PPK packages for both DATAHawk and Q200.

Contact Quest UAV to find out more about our range of products that could suit you company needs.

sales@questuav.com

+44 1665 479042

 

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Topcon (Beijing) Chooses QuestUAV for High Altitude PPK Fixed Wing Operations on the Tibetan Platea

Topcon (Beijing) Chooses QuestUAV for High Altitude PPK Fixed Wing Operations on the Tibetan Platea

Collaboration between ROCtec - Topcon (Beijing) and QuestUAV has resulted in a first-time PPK land survey in the mountainous area of Mudao in the district of Qinghai.  With 99.9% unambiguity at better than 5 cm accuracy, the results display the full potential of the civilian mapping UAS.

Flying at 700ft agl and almost 15000 ft above sea level, QuestUAV’s 2kg DATAhawk aircraft covered an area of 150ha in less than 15 minutes.

This short video charts the operation of the QuestUAV PPK DAThawk by the ROCtec team and it’s post processing output.

It demonstrates the capability of the aircraft to operate entirely successfully with PPK in high altitude conditions and remote areas with little or no local RTK network.

QuestUAV’s director, NIgel King, said “This is an example of a great aircraft being used by a great crew. Jiang Chao and his ROCtec team (Topcon Beijing) are proving to be formidable partners with an assertive stance, ready to capture a new fixed wing drone survey market in Asia”.

“Their achievements with our QuestUAV DATAhawk, both in standard and PPK versions, are outstanding in terms of their quantifiable output following such high-profile flights as these. This mission is just one of their many achievements in China.

“Roctec have extracted the best of the stability of the aircraft, the exceptional quality of the SONY QX1 Camera and accuracy the Septentrio dual frequency AsteRx DGPS rover.

“The all weather capability of the system in sub zero, high altitude temperatures provided the final benefit for ROCtec to capture data for survey grade maps for mapping government construction.”

For more details contact us

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DATAhawk Pink

QuestUAV DroneGirls React To Sexist Complaint


QuestUAV DroneGirls React to "Sexist" Comments


 

 

Jo Harris, DroneGirl

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”.

 

 

Meet The Team | Kerstin

Kerstin... "It was an ironic piece phrased in an unassuming way to show women's presence in the drone world."

Kerstin QuestUAV DroneGirl

DroneGirls Kerstin and Carla on PPK trials

DroneGirl Jess

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….

“Idiot”.

 

 

QuestUAV Drone Girls

DroneGirls Heather, Carla and Jo

DATAhawk Pink

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.”

 

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Grande Cote

Grande Cote Complete Manufacturers Training


Grande Cote Complete Manufacturers Training


Grande Cote
Grande Cote

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

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QuestUAV Provide Own PPK Solution For Q-200

QuestUAV Provides Own PPK Solution For Q-200 Surveyor UAV


 

QuestUAV Own PPK

PPK (Post-Processing Kinematic) provides much higher accuracy in GPS location when stored against images taken in a UAV. Standard GPS signals are accurate to 10's of metres - PPK increases that accuracy to cm-levels. On board the Q-200 UAV, PPK eliminates the need for physical Ground Control Points (GCP) that are often used to gain high accuracy in surveys. This saves hours of mission planning and setup time, physically measuring location points and walking the survey site for placement.


 

GCPs – The underestimated part of a UAV survey

Surveys involving GCP generally run like this:

  • Initial site is viewed to establish useful locations for Ground Control targets.
  • Each location is visited with a GCP and a Differential GPS receiver to accurately place the target.
  • Targets may need revisiting before survey takes place.
  • Locations are stored for post processing reference.

In most cases - up to half of the mission time is taken up with GCP placement. GCP targets may shift or collapse with changing weather conditions – requiring the original placement to be repeated (often wasting up to an hour of survey setup time); coastal surveys can suffer from tidal changes and cliffs make it difficult to place GCPs across the survey area; general survey ground conditions can make it difficult to secure GCPs - quarries are a good example of difficult, variable ground surfaces.


 

The advantage of PPK - Overcoming GCPs

The PPK solution offered by QuestUAV uses a higher performance, highly-accurate receiver placed within the aircraft - following more than 10 GPS satellites at any given time and storing location information against the triggered images taken. Combined with differential signal information collected by the fixed position Ground Station (which stores signal drift and signal error values), the image locations are recalculated to a much higher accuracy – down to centimetre level in x, y and z direction.

QuestUAV Own PPK

Compared to RTK (Real Time Kinematic), PPK also eliminates the need for a real-time data link with a fixed reference station during the flight, whilst guaranteeing RTK cm-level position accuracy of the images once post-processing has taken place, after the UAV lands. This simplifies the UAV set-up, reduces the requirements and power drain on-board and eliminates any loss of accuracy in data due to potentially unreliable radio links - which often plague RTK UAV operations.

The Q-200 Surveyor Pro is available with PPK at purchase or as an upgrade to an existing aircraft with the provision of just the PPK QPod.

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Fixed Wing vs Rotary Image 1

Fixed Wing Versus Rotary Wing For UAV Mapping Applications

Fixed Wing Versus Rotary Wing For UAV Mapping Applications

Fixed Wing vs Rotary
UAVs (also known as drones) come in many shapes and sizes. Each of these have their own unique pros and cons. It is these characteristics which ultimately leads to the operator's decision in which platform will best fit the application. It is understanding these key attributes and acting on them will ensure that your mapping mission is a success.

Fixed Wing Or Rotary Wing UAV?
UAV aircraft currently boil down to two categories, fixed wing and rotary wing. As you may have guessed each of these categories can be further broken down, for example a fixed wing UAV can be high wing, mid wing, low wing and flying wing, again each having their own unique characteristic advantages and disadvantages. For the purposes of this article we will be focusing on the “top level” differences between the two.

Fixed Wing UAV
Fixed Wing vs RotaryFixed wing UAVs, such as the Q200 and DATAhawk, consists of a rigid wing that has a predetermined airfoil (again another variable) which make flight capable by generating lift caused by the UAV’s forward airspeed. This airspeed is generated by forward thrust usually by the means of a propeller being turned by an internal combustion engine or electric motor.

Control of the UAV comes from control surfaces built into the wing itself, these traditionally consist of ailerons an elevator and a rudder. They allow the UAV to freely rotate around three axes that are perpendicular to each other and intersect at the UAV’s center of gravity. The elevator controlling the Pitch (Lateral axis), ailerons controlling the Roll (Longitudinal axis) and the rudder controlling the Yaw (Vertical axis).

Fixed Wing vs RotaryThe main advantage of a fixed wing UAV is that it consists of a much simpler structure in comparison to a rotary wing. The simpler structure provides a less complicated maintenance and repair process thus allowing the user more operational time at a lower cost. More importantly the simple structure ensures more efficient aerodynamics that provide the advantage of longer flight durations at higher speeds thus enabling larger survey areas per given flight.

Another advantage of fixed wing UAVs is that the flght characteristics due to their natural gliding capabilities with no power.

Also worth considering is the fact that fixed-wing aircraft are also able to carry greater payloads for longer distances on less power allowing you to carry some of the bigger (more expensive) sensors as well as twin sensor configurations.

The only disadvantages to a fixed wing solution is the need for a runway or launcher for takeoff and landing however VTOL (vertical take off/landing) and STOL (short take off/landing) solutions are very popular to help eradicate this issue. Also fixed wing aircraft require air moving over their wings to generate lift, they must stay in a constant forward motion, which means they can’t stay stationary the same way a rotary wing UAV can. This means fixed wing solutions are not best suited for stationary applications like inspection work.

Rotary Wing UAV
Fixed Wing vs RotaryRotary wing UAVs consist of 2 or 3 rotor blades that revolve around a fixed mast, this is known as a rotor. Rotary wing UAVs also come in wide range of setups consisting of a minimum of one rotor (helicopter), 3 rotors (tricopter), 4 rotors (quadcopter), 6 rotor (hexacopter), 8 rotors (octocopter) as well as more unusual setups like 12 and 16 rotors! Like fixed wing solutions, these setups can be further broken down, for example a Y6 setup consists of a tricopter with twin rotors on each arm, one pointing upwards and one pointing downwards and an X8 consists of a quadcopter with twin motors on each arm. Again each setup has their own unique characteristic advantages and disadvantages.

Rotor blades work exactly the same way as a fixed wing, however constant aircraft forward movement is not needed to produce airflow over the blades, instead the blades themselves are in constant movement which produce the required airflow over their airfoil to generate lift.

Fixed Wing vs RotaryControl of rotary UAVs comes from the variation in thrust and torque from it’s rotors. For example a quadcopter’s downward pitch is generated from the rear rotors producing more thrust than the rotors in the front, this enables the rear of the quadcopter to raise higher than the front thus producing a nose down attitude. Yaw movement uses the rotor’s torque force where diagonal rotors either spool more or less than their counter diagonal rotors thus producing an imbalance in the Yaw axis causing the quadcopter to rotate on the vertical axis.

Tricopters are the only exception to this where their rear rotor requires a servo to physically move the rotor to vector it’s thrust rather than using the rotor’s torque to enable vertical axis control.

The biggest advantage of rotary UAVs is the ability for takeoff and land vertically. This allows the user to operate with in a smaller vicinity with no substantial landing/take off area required. Their capacity to hover and perform agile manoeuvring makes rotary wing UAVs well suited to applications like inspections where precision manoeuvring and the ability to maintain a visual on a single target for extended periods of time is required.

On the flip side rotary wing aircraft involve greater mechanical and electronic complexity which translates generally to more complicated maintenance and repair processes thus meaning the user’s operational time can be decreased, which can occur increases in operational costs.

Finally, due to their lower speeds and shorter flight ranges the operator will require many additional flights to survey any significant areas, another increase in time and operational costs.


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