senseFly’s eXom drone uses visual and ultrasonic sensors for precision flight

スポンサーリンク

The eXom, with its camera head visible at the left, and one of the visual/ultrasound sensi...

The eXom, with its camera head visible at the left, and one of the visual/ultrasound sensing modules to the right of it

Image Gallery (2 images)

Swiss company senseFly is best known for its fixed-wing industrial drones, such as the eBee and swinglet CAM. Parrot, on the other hand, has made its name with its consumer quadcopters. So, now that Parrot has owned senseFly for a couple of years, what’s the result? The new senseFly eXom quadcopter, which uses multiple visual and ultrasonic sensors to avoid obstacles and maintain precise autonomous flight.

Parrot’s existing AR.Drone already utilizes one of each type of sensor, both located on the underside of the aircraft. The ultrasonic sensor is used to maintain altitude, by emitting sound waves and then measuring how long they take to be reflected back up from the ground. The visual sensor – the drone’s secondary camera – maintains X/Y (lateral) positioning by identifying details on the ground, then keeping the quadcopter centered relative to them.

The eXom utilizes the same principle, although it has five of each type of sensor. These are situated on its left and right sides, underside, rear end, and forward/upward facing camera head. As a result, it can sense the proximity of objects around it in a full 360 degrees.

Its camera head rotates to provide a 270-degree field of view, and along with its two sensors is also equipped with both an HD video/still camera and a thermal-imaging camera. The latter suggests that the eXom is aimed largely at industrial use, along with the fact that the company suggests it could be used for tasks such as inspecting the underside of bridges.

スポンサーリンク

Full specs, availability and pricing have yet to be announced

There are multiple methods of controlling the drone, all of which involve the use of a wirelessly-linked mobile device.

In Interactive ScreenFly mode, the user clicks or taps an object of interest on the real-time video feed on their device’s screen, and the eXom will automatically fly over to that object with its camera head pointed at it. In Autonomous mode, on the other hand, the user defines an area that they want to have mapped, on their device’s screen. The drone will then create its own flight plan, take off, fly over the area while acquiring the images, then land itself.

Of course, it’s also possible to simply pilot the eXom manually, while still using its proximity warning system to avoid crashing it into things.

Full specs, availability and pricing have yet to be announced. In the meantime, however, you watch the eXom’s first public flight, in the video below.

Source: senseFly via IEEE Spectrum

senseFly 航空写真撮影ラジコン飛行機 eBee

スポンサーリンク

米ラスベガスで開催された国際家電見本市 CES (International Consumer Electronics Show) で、senseFly 社は航空写真撮影ラジコン飛行機 (UAV : Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, 無人航空機) の eBee を展示。同社は昨年 7 月に Wifi コントロールの無人機、AR Drone でお馴染みのフランス Parrot 社への買収が発表されたスイスの民間向けドローン専門企業。eBee はウィングスパン 96cm で離陸時の重量は 630g。Li-Po バッテリー搭載により飛行時間は 45 分、飛行速度 36~57 Km/h とのこと。16 メガピクセルのカメラを搭載、約 3 km の範囲で飛行が可能。ハンドランチによる離陸で、フライト中は完全自動制御となっており、着陸の際は旋回しながらの着地または、地上センシング技術を使った完全自動制御による直線的な着陸の二者択一が可能。ウィングが取り外せるなどのモジュラー構造によって、国際航空運送協会 (IATA : International Air Transport Association) で定められる手荷物サイズに準拠した寸法へ分解することが可能、持ち運びにも便利となっている。メーカーでの公表リリース時期は 2013 年初旬。市場ではその価格は 12,000 ドル程度と予想されている。

スポンサーリンク

senseFly 2013/01/16
gizmag 2013/01/17
IEEE Spectrum 2013/01/16
eBee official brochures
Swiss senseFly Joins the French Parrot Group

senseFly set to release eBee industrial UAV

スポンサーリンク

senseFly set to release eBee industrial UAV

By

January 17, 2013

senseFly's new eBee UAV

senseFly’s new eBee UAV

Image Gallery (3 images)

Three years ago, Swiss sensor manufacturer senseFly released its Swinglet CAM unmanned aerial vehicle. Priced around US$10,600, the little aircraft can follow a pre-programmed flight path or be piloted by remote control, and uses its built-in 12-megapixel camera to create aerial maps, or keep tabs on things like wildlife, crops and traffic. Now, based on its experiences with the Swinglet CAM, senseFly is about to release a new UAV known as the eBee.

スポンサーリンク

Thanks to its detachable wings, the foam-bodied eBee and all its associated gear fits in a sturdy case that meets International Air Transport Association guidelines as carry-on luggage.

Once on site it can be launched by hand, after which it will autonomously follow a flight path mapped out in advance by the user, via the included eMotion 2 software. Users are also able to take control of the UAV at any point, and remotely pilot it in real time. Upon completion of its flight, it can land itself without any human intervention – thanks partially to an integrated ground sensor and the ability to run its motor in reverse.

The eBee has a wingspan of 96 centimeters (37.8 inches) and weighs in at 630 grams (22 oz)...

Some of the eBee’s other features include a 16-megapixel camera, onboard data logging, and the capacity to create 3D maps using that data after the flight. It has a 3-kilometer (1.9-mile) radio range, a maximum cruising speed of 57 km/h (35 mph), can hold its course against winds of up to 45 km/h (28 mph), and manages about 45 minutes of flight time on one charge of its lithium-polymer battery.

It has a wingspan of 96 centimeters (37.8 inches) and weighs in at 630 grams (22 oz), making it slightly larger and heavier than the Swinglet CAM – on the plus side, however, its camera, radio range, top speed, and flight time are better than those of the Swinglet.

Although there are any number of uses that the eBee could likely be put to, senseFly is aiming it at industries such as surveying and mining. While hobbyists might like to fly it around their neighborhood just for fun, at a planned price of around $12,000 (according to a report in IEEE Spectrum), they might want to find something else … such as a $300 AR Drone, which is made by senseFLY’s new parent company, Parrot.