Aurora Flight Sciences' Skate® Small Unmanned Aerial System (SUAS) recently traveled to Peru in support of Vanderbilt University's efforts at the Mawchu Llacta archeological site.
Aerial survey operations using Skate® consisted of routine survey flights at altitudes above 13,000 ft. MSL using a High Definition (HD) camera to capture still images. The still images were then "stitched" together using Agisoft's PhotoScan. The mosaicked image is othorectified using ESRI's ArcGIS software. The archaeologists use the othorectified result on iPads running Garafa's GIS Pro software for data collection. The provided imagery is better than what can be obtained through the use of satellites. Vanderbilt has developed a flight planning algorithm that plans an optimal image collection path based on a number of factors. The mapping of large archaeological sites is typically completed using kite-, blimp- and pole-based low altitude aerial photography, which increases the time and manpower required to survey each site. Vanderbilt is excited about the possibility of Skate® to rapidly survey and photograph the site in a matter of minutes, a huge improvement on the current method which typically takes multiple seasons for a large site like Mawchu Llacta. The project is a collaborative effort between Associate Professor of Computer Science and Computer Engineering Julie A. Adams and Assistant Professor of Anthropology Steven Wernke of Vanderbilt, and is primarily funded by a Vanderbilt University interdisciplinary research grant with additional support from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
"Aurora is very excited about Skate®'s contribution to this effort in Peru. Again and again Skate® has proven its versatility, and this is another example of the system's wide range of capabilities," said Carl Schaefer, Aurora's Director of Small UAS Programs.
Aurora's Skate® is an internally developed SUAS targeted as a back packable ISR platform ideal for budget conscious military, law enforcement, and commercial operators. Skate® SUAS is highlighted, along with other Aurora Flight Sciences UAS technologies, this week August 7-9 at the Association of Unmanned Vehicle System International (AUVSI) Exhibition in Las Vegas, NV.
Source: Aurora Flight Sciences
Date: Aug 7, 2012