International Drone Expo is a 3 day event being held from 19th April to 21st April 2017 at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan. This event showcases products like Motor/Driver/Control technology, Propeller/Camera/ Imaging & Vision system/ Navigation & Guidance System/Sensor/Battery/, Simulation/Software/Materials/ etc etc. in the Automation & Robotics industry.
QuestUAV DroneGirls React to "Sexist" Comments
Jo Harris, QuestUAV DroneGirl
Jo Harris, female marketing consultant at QuestUAV wrote an article entitled “Drone Boys vs Drone Girls” on 21 Feb 2017.
SuasNews received a complaint following the publishing of the article complaining that the article was “flagrantly sexist, male-centric and benighted”.
The complainant went on the say “You owe your readers, both female and male, an apology for posting such a degrading article.”
The following is a statement from QuestUAV director Nigel King, defending the author of the original article “Drone Boys vs Drone Girls”.
Kerstin... "It was an ironic piece phrased in an unassuming way to show women's presence in the drone world."
DroneGirls Kerstin and Carla on PPK trials
DroneGirl Jess and Her Dad
Comment By Nigel King. QuestUAV Director
“Jo Harris, my marketing publicist, is a DroneGirl through and through, having been in the industry for five years now.
She was itching to write a piece on one of her favourite subjects; That woman have as much a right to a role in the drone world as anyone. (And by process of deduction that simply means as much as any man!).
I gave her my blessing. And then hid under the desk….
Now we have a saying here in the North of England. Jo Harris “isn’t backward in coming forward”. It means she is pretty outspoken. Most DroneGirls are.
In fact let me tell you a little about my female staff in general…… the “DroneGirls” of QuestUAV.
Kerstin Traut, international drone operative, the smallest of my DroneGirls, can throw me to the ground quicker than anyone I know. Donna can organise accounts better than a Ninja warrior can dispatch enemy heads. Heather is fearless, loves her bright red lipstick and tells me I don’t work hard enough. Actually so does Jess, my grandaughter (part time worker). Jo Harris looks after a family of five and still manages at least four days a week at work. Carla Taylor took one look at the picture of the guy that wrote the complaint and went “he’s cute’ and promptly sent a Linkedin invitation to him. Between them they do a hundred different jobs including, yes, drone stuff.
Don’t you love it that kind of variety and uniqueness? I do! Life wouldn’t be the same around here.
So, who was to know that Jo and her DroneGirl colleagues, in all their feminine uniqueness, would be then hailed as (I quote)
“Flagrantly sexist, male-centric and benighted”, degrading their own feminine uniqueness in a “demeaning”, “sexual” and “callow” way.
For real? Having read the complaint, the members of the pink flight-line naturally looked at each other with that “very confused” look. And then took great interest in the writer of the complaint… Believe me, it’s a dangerous situation for a bloke to be in the middle of.
Their accuser is, it seems, a MALE drone business owner, unable to identify Jo’s sense of humour OR identity as a the DroneGirl who penned the article (Two pictures of her were in the article).
When I asked Jo for a statement on the validity of the complaint Jo said in typical Jo Harris simplicity….
DroneGirls Heather, Carla and Jo
Our Pink DATAhawk, icon of the QuestUAV DroneGirls
The complainant has since requested to withhold his complaint from being published but has demanded an apology from SUAS news on behalf of the rest of the world.
Well, truly, to anyone who has been offended (only one that we can make out so far) we offer our genuine apologies. There is no offence made at all. We hope that any reader can read between the lines of humour to the real message that each DroneGirl is a professional and rightly treated (and paid) as such.
My message to Mr Fox is; “Do you really want to take these DroneGirls own self expression and competence out of their own hands and protect them with some faux grandeur that you want to call anti-feminisim? If so I suggest you go and find a woman who doesn’t want to have a door opened for her and then don’t open the door for her. Just don’t try it on here. It’s not welcome.”
Kerstin, DroneGirl, also had something piercing to say.
“I’ve travelled the world, operating complex UAVs all over the world and done missions that Luke probably cant even dream about. I’m not an arrogant person. I know about my knowledge and my skills and therefore this article isn’t sexist at all. I feel like I am a professional UAV operator and this article was just an interesting way to show our take on DroneGirls in the industry. It was an ironic piece phrased in an unassuming way to show our presence in the drone world.”
Grande Cote Complete Manufacturers Training
Papa Mamadou came from Senegal on a mission to learn how to operate the QuestUAV Surveyor Pro on his Grand Cote mines. A great character, full of smiles and fun, he braved the roughest of English weather and Storm Doris to complete his training with us.
Some quotes from him both in English and his native French tongue.
“Wonderful good great I enjoyed my time"
"Javoue vraiment davoir passer d’excellent monments avec l’equipe QUESTUAV. Cetait une occasion pour moi de decouvrir northumberland et decouvrir aussi lhospitalite anglaise. Du professionalisme et de lexcellence chez Quest UAV et lhistoire ne fait que commencer sachant que nous avons un grand chemin a parcourrir ensemble.”-Papa
QuestUAV Releases New High Performance (HP) Wings for DATAhawk
With an increase in surface area of around 22%, out new HP wings are having a significant boost for users where high altitude and/or turbulence are key factors to overcome. The image shows the new (HP) wings in black and the standard wings in grey.
The wings are a straightforward retro-fit with no changes required to the standard DATAhawk.
The wings increase the ceiling of the DATAhawk to 10000ft and beyond and have the effect of reducing the stall speed; a benefit in turbulent conditions. The wings also improve launch capability in light winds.
For more details including pricing contact sales@questUAV.com.
QuestUAV Drones - Reliable and Accurate Tools for Coastal Monitoring
A Case Study on Long-Term Erosion Mapping in Northeast England
The Urgency to Measure Coastal Erosion
Mitigating the effects of climate change requires coastal protection studies and coastal protection measures. As every planner knows, though, this increases the burden of allocating ever-reducing financial resources.
Accurate studies of the changes, gleaned from historical studies, combined with best practice from current studies and environmental factors allow the most effective and efficient decisions to be taken in coastal protection anywhere in the world.
Left: QuestUAV 100 DATAhawk ready to fly. Right: Flood waves in Amble (13 January 2017).
Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are a great asset for monitoring the stability of a coastline and for carrying out a rapid initial survey after a storm event.
UAVs can quickly survey potentially difficult and dangerous large sites with a very high level of detail.
Erosion monitoring, assessing cliff stability, monitoring coastal vegetation and changes in land volume or coastline state are only a few examples of the applications of UAVs in coastal areas.
QuestUAV’s Special Relation to Coastal Applications
QuestUAV has always had a special interest in using drones for coastal applications. Our company is located in a port town in North-East England on the shore of the North Sea.
The conditions in which our UAVs have to perform are challenging, but have greatly helped create one of the most stable fixed-wing UAV platform on the market.
High Spatial Accuracy and Gimballed Sensors
QuestUAV airframe design and sensor gimbals ensure data quality even in turbulent conditions with wind speeds up to 65 km/h.
Latest PPK (Post Processing Kinematic) technology on board QuestUAV drones allows survey mapping of an area down to 2cm spatial accuracy without the need of Ground Control Points (GCPs).
GCPs are normally not easy to place along the cliffs and dunes of a coastline, so the use of our PPK technology makes surveying quicker and less expensive.
Sea colour mapping along Druridge Bay, England. Art project at Elie Beach, Scotland. Rock survey at Hauxley, England.
Our UAVs have been used for a variety of coastal surveys across the world, such as:
- Rapid pre- and post-storm assessment to quantify forecasted storm impacts
- Large industry environmental monitoring: nuclear power stations / mining sites
- Coastal property monitoring (insurance)
- Monitoring coastal sand digging activities (cement)
- Habitat monitoring / sea colour surveys
- Breakwater inspections
- Geological cliff and rock surveys / baseline surveys
QuestUAV is keeping an eye on the local coast
The Northumberland coastline is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and conservation area due to its significant landscape and wildlife values.
QuestUAV started monitoring the local coast of Northumberland between Alnmouth and Cresswell back in 2008.
Since 2008 the local coast has been hit by two exceptionally strong flood events - one in November 2013 and one recently on the 13th of January 2017.
Immediately after the latest storm a QuestUAV crew flew the local coast, assessing the impact of the floods on the basis of the long-term image series. Our workflow involves a correlation of information from historic sources, satellite imagery and 3d-modelling.
We concentrated our survey on the less protected dune land, especially to see how much property owners have lost from erosion.
Our crew flew the site with a Q-200 PPK drone which has the great advantage of surveying an area with centimetre-level accuracy without the need for GCPs. The UAV provides images with a spatial resolution of 2.9cm at 400ft.
Left: Orthomosaic of the survey site (January 2017). Right: Zoom sections of orthomosaics of different years.
Time-Series to Detect Storm Impacts
The figure below shows a picture of a dune property before (September 2016) and after the latest flood (January 2017). (Note that we show only a representative section of a much larger survey area).
The time series shows that the latest flood changed the frontline of the dunes by 1 – 2 metres. Rocks and previous coastal erosion measures became exposed. Large volumes of sand and grass were removed and slumps occurred within hours of high tides.
Coastline development 2013-2017 at the Low Hauxley coast: QuestUAV image time series.
Our calculations show that approximately 850 tonnes of dune and dunefoot was lost along an 80 metre stretch of coastline and the high water mark receded by up to 2.2 metres at the most critical point. The expected slumps that will happen as a result of erosion at the toe are expected to carry a further 300 tonne loss within 12 months.
Coastal Erosion at Low Hauxley coast.
To see the long-term development of the coastline we also included a flight from January 2013 in our analysis.
The good news is that the coastline recovers over time!
The storm event in November 2013 had comparable impact as the latest flood. Fortunately, sand, stones and organic matter deposits along existing structures and the coastline recovers over the years.
As long as the big storms do not increase in frequency, we do not see the local coast particularly endangered by coastal erosion. We will stay alert though.
Climate change can cause unpredictable events and it is more important than ever to keep an eye on the development of the coastline.
Drones will continue to take an ever increasing role in the monitoring and assessment of coastal erosion and assist in effective decision making for local planners and environmental bodies.
QuestUAV endeavours to build drones which are able to fly in harsh and difficult environments. The conditions we have to test our UAVs in help us create the most stable fixed-wing UAV platform on the market.
Our drones are flown across the world and clients count on the stability of the system, especially in difficult conditions as it is often the case in coastal regions.
We also provide the workflows that allow accurate mapping and timely interpretation of processed results.
South Korea Success Article
QuestUAV Ltd's recent successful entry into South Korea was covered in a 2-page technical article for The Journal. The original layout can be found for download below:
QuestUAV Provides Own PPK Solution For Q-200 Surveyor UAV
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.
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.
Technical Services For Imagery Analysis
GIS, Image Processing and other services
The best and most sophisticated UAV equipment is of no use when, at the end of the flight, nobody can competently read the information behind an image. Image analysis can become quite a complex task, especially when multi-temporal and multi-spectral information is involved.
QuestUAV has many years’ experience with the interpretation of aerial images for various applications. We continuously expand this knowledge through close cooperation with our customers from different industries and via in-house research projects.
QuestUAV offers a wide variety of training courses, from beginners through to professionals, to learn GIS software and to improve GIS skills and understanding in aerial image interpretation. We train our clients in the open-source software - QGIS. Advanced courses are also given in GRASS GIS, SAGA GIS and GDAL.
Our processing experts provide training in industry-standard photogrammetry software - Pix4Dmapper and Agisoft PhotoScan. Learn how to use the software packages to create beautiful orthomosaics and 3D models. Get to know the workflows for generating virtual flythroughs and translating multispectral UAV data into valuable index maps, such as NDVI or SAVI.
After Seven Days Intensive Flight Training The GGP Team Is Ready For Their First Survey Adventure
30,000 Hectares of Tropical Fruits Need To Be Mapped!
More Than 25 Takeoffs And Landings
After seven days of intensive training, the flight crew at GGP (Great Giant Pinapple) is ready to complete their own flight missions without supervision of the QuestUAV trainers. During the past week the team has practiced the whole mission workflow over and over again, including not only flight practice but also safety assessment, flight planning, site setup, UAV maintenance, camera preparation and data extraction.
The two Q-200 Agri-Pros have been launched and landed more than 25 times. The GGP crew has learned how to fly in different modes (auto and assisted) and how to land their QuestUAV drones with both methods, parachute and belly landing, on different surface types (matured pineapple, young pineapple, knocked down fields, roads).
A Big Mission Ahead
The QuestUAV training was just the start of a larger survey mission and certainly a busy time for the new flight crews. 30,000 hectares of pineapple, banana and other tropical fruits are waiting to be mapped by the crew and analysed by GGP's agricultural and GIS experts.
UAV images, especially NDVI maps, will be used for the assessment of plant vigor and crop status, disease detection and identification of canopy gaps. Further, UAV-based elevation models will become the basis for developing a better drainage system for the entire plantation.
Thanks To All Helping Hands
The QuestUAV team, especially our trainers Nigel and Stuart, would like to thank GGP for their outstanding hospitality and the dedication of the whole crew to make this training week a success. Special thanks goes to Nanda Pratama (himself a QuestUAV pilot in Indonesia) for his translation work and training support.
Nigel and Stuart, now on the way back home, will bring many impressions and perspectives back to the QuestUAV workshop and we are looking forward to hear more stories from Indonesia.
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.
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!
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!