This is collaborative project between LUCAS and the geography department, to produce a UAV used for aerial photography, and surveying.
The geography department requires the ability to easily and cheaply take high resolution aerial photos, for a number of different research programs. These images are used with DEM (digital Elevation Mapping) software to be able to get a 3D view of an area.
Normally an aircraft would need to be hired, which is very expensive, and unable to fly low enough to get the highly detailed images required for DEM. Due to recent advances in miniature sensor, and remote controlled aircraft technology, a solution to this problem has presented itself. It is to use a camera equipped remote controlled aircraft converted to a UAV using COTS autopilots system. Remote controlled aircraft are small cheap, able to fly low, and by using advance control techniques a very stable platform for a camera.
Due to the experience LUCAS has built over the years, in developing small portable UAV systems for a number of tasks, this was a logical collaboration. The advantage for us at LUCAS in this collaborative project is that we can start to become more end user focus, most of the vehicles we have developed are for research, and are not really user friendly.
Aircraft has been constructed and has completed initial flight tests. Autopilot flight tests have now been started.
And us having set up a nice tent to operate out of.