Wingtra is regularly updating the capabilities of its premiere WingtraOne platform. This is evident in frequent, free software updates. But there’s something groundbreaking about 2.7 we really want to share with you. We sat down with Julian Surber, product manager at Wingtra, to discuss why the 2.7 software update is such a breakthrough for safety, ease-of-use and reliability.
Q: What are the key updates with 2.7 that current and potential users should know about?
A: A more precise geofence setup based on a polygon instead of a circular area; new return-to-home (RTH) logic that makes the system even more autonomous and is completely novel in the industry; remote ID, more efficient battery swap and resume, and more features.
With all of these updates, plus a simplified min and max height logic, the system offers peace of mind that you are always within a set airspace. All of this while keeping it super easy to set up and fly.
Wingtra software update 2.7 allows customers to confine their airspace with a polygonal geofence and two simple safety parameters—a minimum and a maximum height above ground. Given these settings, WingtraPilot ensures flight within a specified airspace, including during RTH.
Q: Why did Wingtra choose these updates in particular?
A: We see that businesses really need aerial data now. And more than anything else, they need it from a reliable, safe drone that is easy to use and delivers it worry-free with every flight. So this update makes absolutely sure that we cover all the features that deliver on those needs.Specifically, we see that to integrate drones into workflows and train confident pilots fast, customers need an autonomous platform that is as easy to use as possible while ensuring maximum safety. This is all in support of state-of-the-art data capture.
If these needs are not met, any other features will not be as beneficial. So with 2.7, we are not only cementing these things, but we have also pioneered a level of autonomy that removes even more customer guesswork and human error potential.
Q: Because drone tech is always evolving, customers have the tough task of sorting through features and updates when they decide what to buy. What is it about the latest 2.7 software update, generally, that contributes to WingtraOne standing out as a leading commercial drone on the market?
A: It’s our constant goal to offer customers a product that inspires trust and cuts their overhead from the very first moment they unbox it. To do this, we keep in touch with customers and approach R&D with their core needs in mind: data quality, efficiency and ease of use.
Software release 2.7 builds exactly on this approach. With it, we make sure that customers can focus on whatever mapping job they take on while WingtraOne takes care of data capture and safety. In fact, 2.7 makes our drone an exception to the other mapping drones out there, because this level of commercial UAV autonomy is brand new across the entire industry. Customers no longer have to set values or try to gauge their surroundings for straight-line RTH, which involves risks via human error. Instead, based on smart algorithms, WingtraOne will “choose” an RTH route that keeps it safe and brings it home in the most efficient way, every time, no matter the complexity of the terrain.
Q: Everyone is concerned about efficiency, so the old approach of a direct line back to home seems like a clearly efficient way to RTH—why overhaul it? What problems does this solve?
A: Remember, Wingtra is headquartered in Switzerland, where the terrain is the most complex imaginable. Our engineers spend all their free time looking at it, and it informs the decisions we make about what our drone needs to account for to perform in the most effective and safe way possible.
That said, imagine your flight involves some big changes in elevation across the plan. The drone’s flight lines follow the terrain, so if it is lower than at the start, do you want to risk that your straight-line RTH flight height is possibly too low for a forgotten peak between the end of the mission and the home point? People have, and it has cost them dearly. We don’t want people to go through this.
Anyone who has would agree that a slightly different route home—decided by a drone that factors and calculates everything that worked in the mission to that point—would be a great feature!
In fact, what we have seen in extensive testing of this feature is that the efficiency of the RTH is identical for the majority of flights. Only for a small fraction of flights is it reduced. And in the worst case this is only by a couple of minutes. It’s a small sacrifice for complete peace of mind that your drone lands without any unfortunate incidents.
With the 2.7 software update, WingtraOne will now RTH on an energy-efficient path that is safe against terrain collision. To do this, it will reuse elements of the flight plan instead of returning on a straight line.
Q: What are the key factors that the drone weighs when “deciding” on the best path home?
A: After you’ve entered a flight plan and before you take off, WingtraOne uses the terrain information and the flight plan itself to calculate a number of return-to-home options. Once it’s in the air, it decides the most efficient one based on its exact location at the time plus wind direction, wind magnitude and several other factors.
Q: You said this RTH feature is a first in the industry, have you seen anything like this in other drones?
A: No. We are again pushing the industry forward with this software update. The aim is full autonomy. In fact, a drone is an aerial robot that will know best what it has to do to fly safely.
Q: How does the polygonal geofence eliminate challenges and update the experience with WingtraOne for mapping missions?
A: Let’s say you are flying near Native American lands, national parks, FAA administered airfields—do you want to risk overlapping any part of these areas with a mission? The circular geofence risks this if your mapping area is complex. So this new feature allows you to create a snug-fitting area around your mapping area that prevents any trespassing, even during the intelligent RTH.
Q: You mentioned an efficiency boost due to an improved battery swap and resume—can you explain what changed?
A: People generally recognize WingtraOne for its broad coverage ability at this point, but they may not know how this extends beyond just one flight. In fact, customers can design massive flight plans over many kilometers and simply swap batteries on landing and send the drone back up in a matter of two minutes. You can be flying all day long with our swap and resume feature, which is all but effortless!
The one thing that we wanted to robustify about this continuous mapping ability is the resume in cases of long areas. Before, the drone would restart the last sweep, including data capture. If the sweep was long, this meant unneeded data capture, which slowed down field and processing workflows. Now, when you resume, WingtraOne goes right back to where it captured the last data points and continues.
With the 2.7 software release, WingtraOne broadcasts remote ID in accordance with upcoming regulations.
Q: Why is remote ID important, and where is Wingtra in developing this according to regulations?
A: This industry started 10 years ago and was a bit of a wild west in terms of rules. But just like with cars, the regulations are increasing and becoming more specific so that it can go mainstream and be as safe and effective as possible.
As we create a need for a leading drone platform that allows customers to stretch the limits of surveying and mapping, it’s really our responsibility to ensure that customers can use it without any interruption. It’s also up to us to reassure corporations and governments that we are on board with keeping airspaces safe.As a reminder to anyone, remote ID will be required to fly drones in the US and Europe in the near future. Specifically, in the US, from September 2023 operators will only be allowed to fly aircraft that have this feature, and drone manufacturers must be compliant as of now. In the EU, we have until January 2024, then all pilots will be permitted to fly with remote ID aircraft only.
Q: Any other insights you think are important for customers to know right now?
A: I guess I’d just like to say that we pay very close attention to our current customers and the needs of the market. We go into the field with them. We have a feedback community. So we see their challenges first-hand. That said, we not only work to keep our solution a step ahead, but we also develop products like extended services, which help protect customers from unexpected expenses and integrate our drone into budgets over the long run.
And we are constantly researching and working with drone processing software and fleet management software companies to ensure smooth compatibility as this data becomes a matter of fact across all industries.
Without satisfied customers, we know we would not have come this far, and we plan to go many times further on that foundation.
Wingtra software release 2.7 is available for download now.
For more information about how WingtraOne can impact your business, peruse our website at: wingtra.com.
(Avineon®), is pleased to announce the acquisition of the assets held by Highland Mapping, Inc. (Highland). As a provider of professional GIS services for more than two decades, Highland supports local governments and other types of organizations throughout the southeastern United States with a wealth of experience in all aspects of GIS implementation and enhancement.
Highland, an established professional services organization in Banner Elk, North Carolina, is known for providing dozens of clients with exceptional quality services. The addition of the Highland team complements Avineon’s current professional services offerings and strengthens its managed services offering. Most importantly, Highland fits well with Avineon’s culture of providing reliable, value-based solutions and services to all its customers.
“Avineon has been working with Highland ownership for several months to understand its customers, employees, and innovative geospatial solutions,” said Joel Campbell, Avineon’s Senior Vice President – Commercial Systems. “This acquisition will enhance our offerings in managed services and extend our reach in the Southeast and beyond.”
“The strategic fit of Highland and Avineon further enhances our commitment to our customers, our team, and our continued growth in the geospatial market,” said Anand Subramani, President of Avineon. In addition, “it expands Avineon’s service offerings and capabilities to help customers derive more value from spatial intelligence.”
“Finding a home for our customers and employees that is consistent with our values of exceptional, reliable service was important to us as we look towards increasing our offerings to our customers and positioning our business for future growth,” says Kent Rothrock, Founder and Owner of Highland Mapping. “Joining Avineon presents an opportunity to provide additional value and offerings to our long-term customers and significant growth opportunities to our staff. The cultural match of Highland and Avineon made this decision an easy one.”
Avineon offers geospatial products and services to Esri clients in numerous industries, including electric, gas, water, and telecommunication utilities, as well as local, state, and federal government agencies. Avineon’s geospatial solutions include strategy, planning, specification development, product implementation, software and database development, project management, stereo-compilation, photo interpretation, landbase and facilities data capture, GPS data collection, data conflation, environmental mapping, training, and data maintenance.
LAND INFO Worldwide Mapping LLC, the premier provider of mapping solutions for 5G wireless in North America, recently completed up-to-date 10m resolution thematic raster GIS data covering all 50 U.S. states. Optimized for low-band (broad-area coverage) 5G wireless planning, the dataset supports additional applications including utilities, insurance and government, and complements LAND INFO’s 1m resolution datasets that are used for mid-band and high-band 5G in more densely populated areas.
“The dataset is unique in that in addition to using 2020-2021 Sentinel imagery and numerous ancillary layers, we were able to create best-in-class mapping by incorporating into our processing aerial-derived Digital Surface Model (DSM) elevation data via our longstanding partnership with Hexagon’s HxGN Content Program,” said LAND INFO president Nick Hubing.
The HxGN Content Program offers high-resolution, countrywide aerial imagery and elevation data of the contiguous United States and Western European countries. Hexagon continuously advances the program with higher resolution products for digital twin initiatives.
“We are proud to support LAND INFO’s land-use/cover mapping solution with our high-quality DSMs,” says John Welter, President, Geospatial Content Solutions at Hexagon. “LAND INFO is a well-established partner of Hexagon, and the partnership enables various industries to gain real-world analytics for reliable insights and better-informed decision making.”
LAND INFO’s proprietary automated geospatial processing technologies include object-based image analysis and artificial intelligence where smart rulesets analyzed, classified, and merged the imagery, DSM and ancillary layers into a single information rich dataset. There are currently just over 20 classes, and additional classes can be added upon request.
Trimble’s New GNSS Base Station Gives Users Improved Satellite Tracking and Remote Operation for Civil Construction, Geospatial and Agriculture Applications
Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB) introduced today the Trimble® R750 GNSS Modular Receiver, a connected base station for use in civil construction, geospatial and agricultural applications. The R750 provides improved base station performance, giving contractors, surveyors and farmers more reliable and precise positioning in the field.
The R750 can be used to broadcast Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) corrections for a wide range of applications, including seismic surveying, monitoring, civil construction, precision agriculture and more. Access to all available satellite signals provides improved performance and reliability when used with a Trimble ProPoint™ Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) rover. ProPoint gives users improved performance in challenging GNSS conditions, with ground-breaking signal management.
Featuring a built-in LTE modem, the R750 can provide corrections via the internet, making it easier to extend the range of a base station anywhere with cellular coverage. The built-in modem also provides remote access and management, delivery of email alerts and notifications, and data transfer capabilities between the field and the office.
“The R750 delivers significantly improved satellite tracking and connectivity, while also providing a vastly improved user experience,” said Scott Crozier, vice president of Trimble Construction Field Solutions. “The ability to manage the base station remotely, and to receive status notifications about the unit while in the office reduces downtime and the need to travel to the site. The new Trimble R750 is a game changer, especially for users who manage base stations in remote locations.”
For monitoring applications, the R750 provides precision capabilities for construction and geospatial customers deploying automated systems. Combined with Trimble 4D Control real-time monitoring software, users can capture high-frequency 3D positions for alarming and reporting on movement. The R750 offers multiple communication methods that provide flexibility for customers on how they deploy their monitoring system.
Microdrones is pleased to announce a special presentation on the newest member of the GE industrial drone line, the mdLIDAR1000LR. This powerful drone LiDAR integrated system helps professionals collect data from a longer range, covering more area per flight, enabling users to create and maintain digital twins of their assets and project sites.
Join us for this informative webinar to learn how data produced by the new mdLiDAR1000LR can be captured from a greater distance to make quick work of large projects.
CLICK HERE to register for this presentation.
mdLiDAR1000LR means longer range. You’ll cover more ground from above. This translates to more efficiency than ever – the survey equipment, software, workflow, training, and support that you need to be productive in the field – with convenient mdaaS plans.
Robert is a Professional Land Surveyor who brings extensive field experience using drones for surveying work, having previously been a customer of Microdrones.
Drone LiDAR is making a serious impact for specialists across many professions, both in terms of efficiency of data collection and generation of geospatial deliverables.
“The mdLiDAR1000LR increases the distance from which details can be captured,” explains Frank Darmayan, the Chief Operations Officer for Microdrones. “It can capture powerline details at 75m for distribution and 90m for transmission, effectively doubling the range of our mdLiDAR1000HR system. Flying at 70m from the powerlines, at 8m/s allows for efficient location of the powerlines with roughly 10 points per linear meter and capturing great detail of the towers.”
The presentation also explains new pricing options unveiled by Microdrones to provide even more flexibility for drone surveying customers to access the company’s mdInfinity software data processing modules.
Microdrones added the new offerings to its Microdrones as a Service (mdaaS) pricing menu in September, which gives professionals the ability to decide whether they want to rent or buy drone surveying equipment with convenient software packages and payment options to process data.
The presentation will be conducted by Robert Chrismon, Microdrones Marketing Manager, and voice of the customer.
“With the release of the mdLiDAR1000HR earlier this year, the announcement of the GE industrial drone line and the mdLiDAR1000LR, it’s been an exciting 2021,” Chrismon said. “One of the things that really jumped out at me with the mdLiDAR1000LR, is the altitudes we are able to fly at and the coverage that we have with the field of view of 90 degrees for LIDAR collection, we’re going to be able to cover a lot of ground.”
The pricing updates come on the software side, the first of which is the new choice to subscribe for data processing and analytics monthly through the “Explorer” package. Explorer joins the mdInfinity options to pay per project or to choose unlimited use.
The second update creates new basic and pro user levels for LiDAR data processing, adding another layer of flexibility. Photogrammetry users also benefit from an Explorer Basic Mapper plan to help manage their data processing needs.
“There’s something for everyone,” said Chuck Dorgan, US Director of Sales at Microdrones. “We’ve seen that progression with some customers that start out at pay-per-project and then switch over to unlimited,” Dorgan said. “Our team can show you how to estimate jobs and you can get a feel for how many tokens it would take you to process some of your average work, and then get an idea of whether to pay per project or if you want to use a monthly plan. We provide as much as we can to help.”