Uncrewed Systems Technology 046

72 Report | CUAV Expo Americas 2022 both platforms. The Canary is designed for a higher top speed of 80 kph to the Sparrow’s 60 kph. We spoke with Drone Geosciences about some of its work and the sensors it deploys for UAV-powered geophysical research. “Our sensors effectively see into the subsurface of the Earth while being flown from a UAV, usually from 1 to 30 m above the ground,” said Ron Bell. “One is a magnetometer, two are electromagnetic systems – a metal detector and an earth conductivity meter – and all are commercially available. “We are also talking with a company developing a semi-airborne EM system capable of imaging the Earth to depths of 1000 m or more. The system is applicable for subsurface geological mapping for environmental studies and resource exploration. All these systems are available in the US, and we are looking to take them overseas in the near future.” The company’s magnetometer is the caesium vapour MagArrow from California-based Geometrics, which has been designed for use on multi-rotors. It weighs 1 kg, includes an internal IMU and GNSS, has no sensor dead zone and is powered by a hot-swappable lithium-polymer battery for continuous data collection that is independent of the UAV’s power and positioning systems. The metal detector is the EM61-Lite from Canadian company Geonics, while the EM conductivity meter is known as the GEM2 UAV manufactured by Geophex, in North Carolina. A D230A gamma-ray spectrometer from Terraplus is also part of Drone Geosciences’ sensors inventory. It provides a quantitative measure of gamma radiation resulting from radioactive element decay to quantify the amount of potassium, uranium and thorium in soil and rock outcrops. “We work on a range of projects for different industries, from locating legacy oil & gas wells and pipelines to exploring for hidden pools of groundwater and deposits of copper, gold and silver, to detecting unexploded ordnance or buried cars,” Bell added. “We even conducted a drone magnetic survey as part of a scientific study of what is thought to be an impact crater from a meteor. “Further down the line, there will be new geophysical sensors and variations on existing ones that will enable missions like seismic surveys and gravity-based geophysical sensing, and there’s huge potential for applying machine learning and AI techniques to the drone’s geophysical data volumes to quickly extract more information about the subsurface. The overarching purpose of drone geophysics is to better understand the content and make-up of what’s in the ground below our feet.” Hesai Lidar attended the show to display its range of laser sensing solutions, in particular the XT32 3D Lidar. “It’s about twice as precise as any other commercial 3D Lidar available right now,” said Frank Bertini. “It will capture points in its surroundings to about 0.5 cm of range precision, making it ideal for UAVs and ground vehicles such as self-driving cars and trucks. “It also measures range accurate to ±1 cm, and all this is possible through our custom-designed, proprietary ASICs. The XT series are our first products using those, and we’re getting positive feedback in terms of the 3D model quality they enable, not just for autonomous driving but pipeline inspection, powerline inspection and more.” The XT32 consumes up to 10 W and is 103 mm in diameter at its base (where it is widest) and 76 mm tall. It measures with a vertical FoV of 31 º and out to a maximum range of 120 m, with up to 640,000 data points captured per second (with a single return per pulse). October/November 2022 | Uncrewed Systems Technology Drone Geoscience’s UAV using an EM61-Lite metal detector Drone Delivery Canada’s Condor has a payload capacity of about 180 kg