The civilian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been developed rapidly in recent years. The main applications include earth monitoring, disaster prevention, aerial photography, etc. The UAV is a high mobility, security, and low operating costs solution, which has been adopted in the academic and military communities.
The GIS Research Center (GIS.FCU) has been developing UAV since 2005 and delivering variety of UAV products and applications. Furthermore, GIS.FCU provides solutions and services for debris flow monitoring, river monitoring, urban planning, agricultural monitoring, etc.
GIS.FCU has developed rotor type vehicle (helicopter) instead of relying on a fixed-wing approach. The advantages of a rotor type vehicle include higher payload, small size and no runway requirement. However, controlling such a vehicle takes more skill than in case of a fixed-wing vehicle. GIS.FCU has developed an autonomous flight system, which provides a variety of advantages to reduce the learning curve of the operating personnel.
The UAV is a high mobility flight vehicle that can be equipped with all kinds of sensors, resistant to weather conditions and applicable in a wide range of fields requiring still or motion image shooting.
Carrying various photographic and monitoring equipment, the high flexibility UAV shortens the time and lowers the cost of producing aerial images and monitoring data effectively, being also equipped with high automatic functions applicable in several areas, such as disaster prevention and response, photography and monitoring.
Because the rotor type UAV has special physical characteristics that make it difficult to control and master, the GIS.FCU has developed an autonomous flight control system.
The system must integrate several differen components , such as inertial navigation systems, an acceleration sensor, a GPS sensor, pressure altimeter components, combine collected data and calculate the position and status of the vehicle The UAV operating personnel can correct or modify objectives and route coordinates.
Rotor type UAV autonomous flight system architecture
The UAV system inculdes a ground control station (GCS) to control all flight processes. The GCS design concept was focused on high mobility, rapid development capabilities and modluar structure. Thus, the system has flexible and portable design and can be easily transported to any working location.
Another important part of the GCS is navigation and flight control software, developed by GIS.FCU to control all kinds of flight parameters and coordinates, display real-time vehicle location and provide the operator with data required to monitor the UAV state.
GCS of UAV System
GIS.FCU has developed the UAV system following OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) data standards. As a result, all data acquired from UAV sensors, such as digital camera or multi-spectrometer, can be moved between units or systems that are compatible with OGC guidelines.
The UAV technology was used to collect data and build an emergency environmental image of the disaster area in order to assist government units in cotrolling and securing the situation.
Monitoring of the river area is an important part of managing environmental river resources. It is hard to manage due to the wide scope of the river area, so since 1997 each river station has been devoloping remote monitoring systems. In 2011, an integrated river monitoring mangement platform has been built to share information and improve working efficiency.
The UAV technology can be used to collect images of 12 sectors in the coastal areas of the northeast corner and to provide reference information for the follow-up planning.