3D-UAV: Collection of 3D-data from 3DLidar with mini- UAV as measurement platform


  • Håkan Larsson
  • Michael Tulldahl

Publish date: 2015-12-11

Report number: FOI-R--4045--SE

Pages: 40

Written in: Swedish


  • lidar
  • UAV
  • system integration
  • point clouds
  • military applications


In 2014, the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) has funded the project Collection of 3D data from Lidar with mini-UAV, at FOI called 3D:UAV. The project's aim has been to show the capacity of 3D imaging lidar from a small UAV, type multirotor. Small UAV´s have the possibility to carry small efficient sensors for military missions. This report presents the mechanical and electrical integration of the laser scanner Velodyne HDL-32E lidar on a multirotor, in our case a hexacopter, with a total weight of 7 kg. The report presents some prospective military uses and contains experimental results. Small UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) are currently in a rapid technological development phase. The performance of the system components for UAVs, such as inertial sensors, motors, electronics and algorithms, are gradually improving. Simultaneously the lidar technology is improved in terms of reliability, accuracy, speed of data collection, data storage capacity and processing. In addition, the sensor size and weight have decreased to reasonable levels to be carried by the small UAVs. The lidar development towards miniature systems, high-speed data acquisition, together with the recent development of UAVs, delivers new opportunities for three-dimensional (3D) imaging. 3D lidar imaging from a small unmanned vehicle compared to full-sized manned aircraft is more cost effective over small geographic areas (a few thousand square meters) and more flexible to use, easier to take off and land. One difference between high resolution lidar compared to 3D mapping from passive photogrammetry is the ability to penetrate vegetation and to map and detect partially obscured targets. Another difference is the lidar ability to detect oblique surfaces and thin structures such as masts, flagpoles, and struts to masts. High resolution lidar is less affected by wind in trees than photogrammetry which can suffer from image motion blur. Another difference is the ability to quickly obtain 3D data over a large search area where passive photogrammetry in low-contrast areas can have a limited capability.