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Drone-based light detection and ranging (LiDAR) systems are being used by Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians for 3D mapping.
Six LiDAR systems were delivered to a US ordnance unit to provide EOD technicians an opportunity to assess how LiDAR can be used to enhance their operations.
The RedTail LiDAR Systems’ RTL-450 system was integrated onto the Teledyne FLIR SkyRaider Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to address a broad range of the EOD community’s 3D mapping needs.
In addition to terrain mapping, the RTL-450 can be used to calculate crater volumes from improvised explosive device (IED) blasts, perform route planning for unmanned ground vehicles, aid in mission planning, and conduct surveillance.
The 3D maps generated – commonly referred to as point clouds – allow operating areas to be viewed from any perspective using the rotation and zoom capabilities provided within the viewer software.
This is a successful transfer of technology from US DoD laboratories to the field. The technology was licensed from the Army Research Laboratory (ARL).
The microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) mirror-based design provides enhanced 3D imagery due to the fact that the laser pulses are steered to the ground in a very well-defined and controlled scan pattern.
The LiDAR technology is ideal for applications where Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) algorithms can be used for target detection and classification due to the high point density of the point clouds, according to lidarmag.com.
The system can operate in either a raster scan mode for surveillance missions or a side-to-side line scan mode for area mapping while the UAS is flying.
The intuitive command and control, high-brightness display integrated into the ground control station (GCS), and real time 3D map generation allows operators to begin mission planning and analysis even before the mapping or surveillance missions are completed.