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Inertial navigation systems (INS) provide surveyors with absolute position, timing and inertial measurements (heading and pitch/roll) that they can integrate into their survey projects. The measurements, when combined with data from other devices (such as lidar sensors and cameras), can greatly enhance the surveying process.

Oxford Technical Solutions has released the xNAV650, suitable for use on drones. This latest in its line of INS, is the smallest, lightest and most affordable INS to date. 

The technology is suitable for a wide range of UAV data-collection applications, including surveys of bridges, buildings, forests and rail; coastal monitoring; map creation and pipeline exploration.

The system provides highly accurate and reliable measurements – even when payload size and weight are imperative to consider, including for use with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It measures 77 x 63 x 24 mm and weighs 130 grams.

OxTS’ partner Dronezone used the xNAV650 INS and a Velodyne VLP-16 lidar on a drone to conduct a scan of an aging bridge to look for structural and potential hazards from overgrown foliage. By fusing the timing, position and inertial data from the INS with the raw data of the VLP-16 (using OxTS’ lidar georeferencing software OxTS Georeferencer), the surveyor was able to produce a highly accurate 3D point cloud of the bridge..

The point cloud has enabled the engineers to easily and accurately pinpoint areas of the bridge that need closer attention: