AIRBORNE SURVEYING WITH MICROLIGHT AND UNMANNED AIRCRAFT
Who are we:
We are a consulting firm with more than 25 years of expertise in Remote Sensing. Our specialty is sensors, acquisition of high quality data and the analysis of these data, and we use this expertise to offer a broad range of unmanned remote sensing services to our customers:
1) We fly airborne surveys with a variety of sensors for our customers
2) We assist our customers to find the best configuration of unmanned aircraft and sensor payload for their applications.
3) We are distributor for a range of aircraft and sensors
WHY CAN WE HELP YOU TO IMPROVE YOUR SURVEY JOB AND AT THE SAME TIME REDUCE COST
Airborne surveys are usually expensive and logistically complex. Expensive because mobilisation of manned aircraft with bulky equipment is expensive. Complex because dealing with aviation authorities is often a lengthy and tedious procedure, and in many countries the logistic facilities are far from optimal.
This often means that for projects smaller than 50-100km, such surveys are prohibitively expensive. The smaller the survey area, the more expensive it gets per square km.
Our approach is to eliminate as much as possible the factors that make these surveys so expensive and complex. We do this by using lightweight and easily transportable aircraft and equipment, such as the gyrocopter and small unmanned aircraft, equipped with miniaturised sensors, for applications such as Lidar, hyperspectral sensors, radar, aerial photography and geophysical sensors.
Since we can save up to 80% on mobilisation costs, we can bring aerial surveying within reach of those users that previously were unable to afford it. By using such easily transportable aircraft, we can drive our whole system right into your project area, take off locally and perform the survey. This means that we can deliver taylor-made work, precisely where and when you need it.
Our Paraplane comes as standard luggage, and can be transported by car into the project area.
Our gyrocopter can be transported in a small truck or on a trailer, and only needs about 100m of flat surface to take off and land.
The unmanned helicopter can be transported in a small van, and with its vertical take-off and landing capabilities, no airstrip is needed at all.
Our small fixed-wing aircraft comes as carry-on luggage, is ready for take-off within ten minutes, and can virtually take off and land anywhere. Since this system is so transportable, and simple to operate, it is ideally suited to survey small areas.
URSUS-AIRBORNE offers an operational service that uses unmanned aircraft for a variety of earth observations. One of our key objective is to provide data solutions to the mining community. This technology offers very significant advantages for use in mineral exploration, mine planning and construction, environmental impact monitoring during mine-construction, mining and remediation.
As previously mentioned, there is a whole range of potential applications where the use of UAV can lead to a significant reduction in the cost and logistical complexity of performing surveys. While for certain types of sensors, relatively small and simple UAV-systems provide an adequate solution, URSUS-AIRBORNE focuses on the more specialist and logistically more demanding sectors within the mining industry, applications in environmental monitoring and sustainability, natural hazard (e.g. landslides, floods, earthquakes etc.) monitoring and mitigation. For that reason Ursus Airborne is currently using a variety of different aircraft, such as the Dutch HIGHEYE helicopter, which is a high-end VTOL with a sensor payload of 4 kg (see below), the Swedish Smartplane fixed-wing and the German HANSEATIC Fixed-wing, as well as the German AIBOTIX hexacopter
OUR BUSINESS MODEL
The URSUS-AIRBORNE business model is based on a modular "plug-and-play" approach, using a variety of optical and geophysical sensors (e.g. Gamma ray, Mag, Hyperspectral, Thermal infrared, Lidar, Photogrammetry). The system will be deployable anywhere worldwide in a cost-effective and flexible manner; having the entire system including sensors, capable of being shipped in a crate to any country, loaded in a van and driven into the project area. By mobilising multiple sensors simultaneously with the aircraft, combining several sensors onto one platform, flying one instrument at the time or through carrying out successive flights with different sensors, we expect to be able to achieve a very significant cost-reduction, at the same time reducing the logistical complexity of these surveys. Our modular approach brings us the flexibility needed to present tailor-made solutions to individual clients.
Compared to traditional manned surveys, our VTOL approach offers several additional very attractive advantages, such as
- Manned aircraft and in particular helicopters are much more expensive to purchase and maintain.
- UAV’s, unlike manned aircraft, do not require a fully licensed pilot implying a significant cost-reduction.
- The logistical and administrative complexities involved with the preparation of manned airborne surveys are advantageously reduced using unmanned surveys.
- A highly undesirable risk of using manned aircraft is the possibility of casualties. Since that risk does not apply to unmanned aircraft, it is possible to take greater risks in areas where airborne surveys are required but dangerous.
- The use of a helicopter will enable us to operate in remote, difficult areas where no airstrip is available. It can be transported in a small truck into the project area, and there is no need to fly back and forth to the nearest airport.
- In contrast to a "fixed-wing" aircraft, a helicopter can fly very slow, close to the ground and is flexible enough to follow the terrain in demanding conditions and survey-types.
- A radio-controlled helicopter is much smaller than a manned helicopter, and it will generate much less noise and dust when flying close to the ground. This will have obvious advantages when flying in or adjacent to populated areas.
CONTACT: M.A.GOOSSENS, PhD