Sky-Scanner is a new high performance lidar and imagery data collection system for UAVs

Sky-Scanner: lightweight, compact and cost effective 

In development since early 2015, Siteco's Sky-Scanner has already exceeded all performance expectations on the DJI-S1000 and DJI Matrice-600 airborne platforms. 

The development project was spearheaded in collaboration with:

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  • LTS, a high-tech survey Company headquartered in Treviso, shareholder of UNISKY (spinoff of the Venice University);
  • ASCO-DAITO Co. Ltd., Japanese leader of surveying and inspection engineering. Since early 2015, ASCO have been operating a Siteco Road-Scanner system throughout Japan for high accuracy 3D railway and roadway infrastructure survey.

The Sky-Scanner system has been tested in Italy in cooperation with ASCO-DAITO who had the opportunity to evaluate its reliability and accuracy. ASCO-DAITO will present the system at the new technology  EE-Tohoku Engineering Exhibition, on next June 1st, 2016.

 Filling the Gap

This high performance airborne data collection system fills the gap between the low-cost low-altitude photogrammetry approach of current UAV systems, and the more complex and expensive LiDAR systems
typically deployed on manned fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
The system is delivered as a compact and light configuration (only 3.5 kg, including batteries) with up to 5 hours data collection time. The Sky-Scanner, equipped with a Velodyne VLP16 scanner, 16-20 Mpx high resolution camera for imagery and an Applanix AP15 inertial navigation system, has succeeded in delivering verified accuracies of ±5 cm on regular surfaces (roads, walls), and ±8 cm on natural ground with vegetation, capable of generating high quality orthophotos. The double return laser-scanner allows vegetation 2img 1

Equipment and Performance

Thanks to its balanced well-engineered component structure, Sky-Scanner allows the achievement of  optimal results with the minimum effort:

  • The top quality Inertial Navigation System by Applanix is the system core. It guarantees optimal positioning and attitude, and the surveyed data are post-processed with the best GPS/Inertial software POSPac. The AP15 model with 2 GPS antennas allows few centimeter accuracy for positioning and less than 0.08° RMS on heading, and 0,025° RMS on pitch and roll;
  • The lightweight powerful Velodyne VLP 16 Puck-Lite laser-scanner provides the right mix of performance for most applications, and double return for vegetation filtering.
  • The tests allowed to reach the absolute accuracy of ±5 cm on regular surfaces (roads, walls) and ±8 cm on natural ground with vegetation
  • The system includes also a 16-20 Mpx high resolution camera able to take aerial photos, to produce orthophotos
  • The system is delivered in a compact and light configuration (only 3.5 kg, including batteries with a 5 hours autonomy).
  • It can be mounted on any mid-range UAV (already tested on DJI-S1000 and DJI-Matrice-600).
  • The flight plan can be programmed with any mission planning software (ex: DJI Ground Station).
  • Before starting the mission, a best-practice procedure allows the Inertial System initialization without any loss of autonomy.
  • The post-processing software generates georeferenced LAS files, starting from the SBET (Smoothed Best Estimation of Trajectory) processed with  POSPac.
  • The LAS files and the orthophotos can be imported and processed with any point-cloud management software (Terrascan, Riscan, Orbit, etc.) to meet the highest expectations  and the required deliverables.

 Main Benefits 

  • Vegetation filtering
  • Classification
  • Ground Control Point calibration
  • DTM Generation
  • Cross sections and profiles
  • Contour lines
  • Feature extraction and mapping 

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Quoting our CEO's statement at the official system presentation:

“We have seen many companies offering lidar and imaging solutions, but none have been able to deliver the data quality at a price required by our partners. ” said ing. Augusto Burchi, Siteco’s CEO. “ The Sky-Scanner is the first such light, compact and cost effective system deployable on a wide variety of commercially available UAVs”. 



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