3DR Pairs with Sony for New Autonomous, Map-Making Drone
3DR recently announced Site Scan, its newest drone offering with an integrated Sony UMC R10C camera for aerial analytics and mapping applications in a variety of industries. The company says that to get the Site Scan’s level of detail, one would need to not only rent a $30,000 drone, but then also hire a specialist to process the data and turn it into a recognizable end product.
All that level of detail comes from the Sony UMC-R10C camera, which uses a 20MP APS-C sensor to capture, according to 3DR, 13 times the light of a 1/2.3” sensor found in DJI’s cameras. The Sony SEL20F28 prime lens, at a 20mm focal length, “dramatically improves image quality and the quality of the maps and models generated by Site Scan,” says the company in a press release. The camera/lens combination achieves a high dynamic range and a resolution of 0.5cm/pixel (Ground Sampling Distance).
In a statement, Chris Anderson, the CEO and co-founder of 3DR, said, “Alongside one-click data collection, processing and analytics capabilities, Sony R10C on Site Scan integrates seamlessly with existing workflow applications so industrial users can survey, inspect and scan commercial worksites almost effortlessly.”
The Site Scan drone works with an iPad, and the included software allows users to simply swipe an area on a map to have the drone map it, all without prior piloting experience. The company hopes this will increase interest from industrial applications where the company can’t afford or doesn’t see a long-term need to train a staff member for piloting drones. Although, anyone operating for commercial purposes will still be required to hold a Remote Pilot certificate issued by the FAA.
The software will also integrate with Autodesk workflows, allowing engineers to turn photos into data that can be acted on immediately, rather than waiting for a specialist to finish up the work.
3DR says the Site Scan package has already been used by Kimley-Horn, a top-tier civil engineering firm, to scan and survey the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. The company was able to easily create a detailed 3D model of the site, which will help it track trail maintenance and model stormwater erosion.
3DR has also included features like “re-fly a previous flight,” so that companies can collect data from the exact same locations, to track changes over time. On top of that, the company will overnight a replacement drone to any of its customers in the event of accident or malfunction. Free non-warranty repairs, up to the retail price, will give many users some comfort when investing money into a drone package.
The entire Site Scan package—with the UMC-210C, the Site Scan app on iOS, the drone itself, and full support—is now available for $12,200. The company says its scanning functionality, which can be used for 3D models, or Inspect mode, for live inspections, will be available later this year.