Drones for the acquisition of visual data necessary to plan emergency and relief food aid interventions.

Each drone is equipped with photographic and multispectral sensors suitable for digital photogrammetric shootings. The aerial platform is capable of autonomous flight except for take-off and landing.

The UAVs are easily transportable and user-friendly. They produces images which will allow rapid updates of existing maps, and can produce thematic maps that highlight damages to buildings, infrastructure and flooded areas. In addition a micro-camera can acquire sequences to document the investigated area that can be downlinked in real-time.

The carbon UAV developed by the Aerospace Department of the Politecnico di Torino. Photo: ITHACA

The UAV is developed based on a Patent Pending model developed by the Aerospace Department of the Politecnico di Torino. It is electrically-powered with a fixed-wing configuration which gives the vehicle a better capability of withstanding adverse weather conditions, and guarantees a superior flight performance (in terms of endurance and range). Besides carrying out photogrammetric flights with perfectly respected flight plans, the presence of the autopilot and GPS allows the UAV to carry out missions at half of the optimum range limits, also beyond visual range of the Ground Control Station. Two shelf digital cameras whose characteristics seem particularly suitable for this purpose have been identified: RICOH GR Digital and Canon EOS 5D.

Currently, the research team is working on:

  • The assessment of the autopilot software to allow autonomous photogrammetric flights.
  • Developing camera shooting triggering based on a direct link to the autopilot. This solution will allow the acquisition images at predefined time intervals or at specified positions.
  • Testing other types of sensors (IR, radar, etc) whose weight and dimensions are sufficiently miniaturized to be compatible with the characteristics of the UAV.