Mar 11, 2016 | By Benedict

Drone manufacturer 3D Robotics is using Autodesk FORGE and Sony’s UMC-R10C camera to develop a UAV-to-cloud system with which construction, telecom, survey, mapping, energy and infrastructure workers will be able to 3D scan terrain and create detailed 3D models. The exciting drone project, announced by 3D Robotics this week, will see the company create an advanced version of its popular Solo drone, one which can upload its newly-scanned 3D maps to the cloud whilst still in the air.

After previously using GoPro cameras, 3D Robotics has announced that it will henceforth use the Sony UMC-R10C camera aboard its Solo drones, allowing for more detailed 3D scanning of buildings and landscapes. Some editions of the Solo drone will also be packaged with a FORGE-loaded Sony tablet. "The Solo is the first example of an enterprise drone that is integrated from end to end, from drone to camera to cloud," 3D Robotics cofounder and CEO Chris Anderson told The Verge.

Key to the development of 3D Robotics’ new drone-cloud system is Autodesk’s FORGE Platform, which consists of a set of Autodesk cloud services, SDKs, and APIs, including ReCap, a reality capture and 3D scanning software. This range of Autodesk products has enabled 3D Robotics to develop an advanced 3D scanning solution for its drones to perform inspections, surveys, and more. 3D scanned visual data can even be taken from ReCap to create 3D printable models, which could be used to create 3D printed maps or models.

It is thought that 3D Robotics new 3D mapping drone and UAV-to-cloud system could be the catalyst for a number of new drone-based 3D scanning and 3D mapping technologies. Gathering visual 3D data from the air offers numerous advantages over ground surveying, and the decreasing cost of UAVs could force businesses to adopt the burgeoning technology.

“Capturing site data today is costly, time consuming, and often dangerous,” said Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics. “Drones can easily go where it’s inefficient or unsafe for field personnel, making it easier to accurately measure our world so we can better manage it. We’re delighted to leverage the Autodesk FORGE platform to deliver a complete solution for site capture that will help business customers save time and money and will take humans out of harm’s way.”

“We are excited to collaborate with 3D Robotics to help field service professionals collect information and make insightful decisions across a variety of industries,” added Amar Hanspal, senior vice president, Products at Autodesk. “From the integration of Site Scan and Autodesk cloud services, to their use of the FORGE platform, 3D Robotics is opening up new ways of working for our architecture, engineering and construction customers.”

3D Robotics plans to develop its drones even further in the near future. In addition to its 3D scanning and mapping feature, the next generation of Solo drones could feature a multispectral and thermal camera, which would allow staff at agricultural sites, chemical plants, and oil rigs to monitor specific materials from the air.



Posted in 3D Scanning



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