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22 April 2013
Innovations

ISTU surveyors experienced the unique unmanned helicopter on the Lake Baikal

The employees of the subdepartment of Surveying and Geodesy at NI ISTU experienced an unmanned helicopter, which will be used for site investigation, on the lake Baikal last weekend. The launch of unmanned helicopter in Siberian conditions was observed by representatives of "Aeroskaut" (Switzerland), which has created a unique device for ISTU surveyors.

Director of "Aeroskaut," Dr. of University of Zurich, Christoph Eck, and the lead engineer, Benedict Imbah, checked the condition of the equipment, worked full-time operations - take-off, landing, launching laser scanner, which are the elements of the helicopter. Young employees of the subdepartment of Surveying and Geodesy, who were trained in Switzerland in 2012 and participated in the first test of drone near Lucerne, pre-prepared the flight plan, developed a route, automatically set the height, pivot points, the frequency of the scanner. In addition, they have "flown" several tens of hours on the virtual helicopter, mastering the intricacies of management.

C. Eck stressed that his team first created a helicopter to be used in Siberia. The unmanned apparatus with its own weight of 45 kg is able to lift 18 kg of payload and 10 liters of fuel into the air. The helicopter can fly at a speed of 45 km per hour, being in the air up to six hours. "The helicopter and equipment located in it is very difficult. It is necessary to work out all the details to fly confidently in a variety of conditions. We are confident that the experts of Irkutsk Technical University will cope with this problem, " said C. Eck.

Head of the subdepartment of Surveying and Geodesy at ISTU, Anatoly Okhotin, noticed that unmanned helicopter with a laser scanning system, the cost of which is 15 million rubles, went to the disposal of professionals thanks to the program of the National Research University. About 30 million rubles were aimed at the equipment of the subdepartment.

"An unmanned helicopter was purchased in the Swiss company, laser equipment was supplied by engineering companies in Europe. In particular, laser scanning head was ordered in the Austrian company Riegl, inertial system was acquired in the University of Oxford. Belgian engineers have equipped the helicopter navigation with GPS-GLONASS. That’s the first time when we have managed to create an unmanned helicopter with a laser scanning system in this configuration. This is a unique technology that allows using a light aircraft to quickly and accurately produce survey of a large area for drawing up plans of a large-scaled creation of 3D-models or monitoring facilities such as power lines. Nowadays the whole world comes to drones, but mainly they are used for military purposes. We have demonstrated a very interesting civil application with great potential, " said A. Okhotin.

Being armed with such a high level of technology, employees of the subdepartment of Surveying and Geodesy at ISTU can use the helicopter in the educational process and conduct engineering and land surveys for all customers. Until now, aerial photography is performed with heavy AN-30 and Mi-8, which fly at high altitude, require a lot of fuel and good weather conditions. The advantage of unmanned helicopter is low fuel consumption (the apparatus consumes A-95, and it can be refueled at any gas station), it is undemanding to weather conditions, except the low sub-zero temperatures, and it is able to shoot at an altitude of 500 meters and below. The characteristics of the aircraft allow using it for a wide range of tasks: monitoring of emergencies, search operations, remote sensing, monitoring of industrial facilities, survey of ice conditions.

A. Okhotin noticed that the subdepartment acquired a special vehicle for the transportation of drone, which will act as a command post. The technique requires professional service, that is why the surveyors are ready to provide customers with the helicopter operator.

Photo: Anastasiya Slepneva and Alexandra Zagibalova

April
2013
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