Sydney-based Raymax Applications has viewed training presentations in Norway for new hyperspectral cameras designed to be mounted onto UAVs.
Hyperspectral imaging maps individual pixels into sets or spectral bands to produce data in the form of a three-dimensional cube.
Differences in the size of pixels provides a high degree of discrimination and classification, enabling the detection of objects that may not be visible in a two dimensional photograph (such as a military vehicle parked under a tree).
Hyperspectral imaging cameras mounted on a UAV could potentially provide the next step in army reconnaissance as a combat team asset. Hyperspectral images, however, are difficult to obtain from unsteady platforms like UAVs.
HySpex NEO, a Norwegian SME, has overcome this challenge by installing gimbal and stabilizing mounts on their cameras, as well as GPS/IMU systems that continuously log the position and altitude of the HySpex sensor in order to perform precise geo-referencing of the airborne hyperspectral imagery.
A data acquisition unit ensures rapid data acquisition rates, and solid state disks (SSD) provide stable and reliable acquisition under difficult operating conditions. Smart software scans ‘ground truth’ geospatial data, and control and feed-back is achieved through a ground operator with touch screen capability, enabling immediate application of information to decisions that can affect outcomes.
HySpex have created a range of SWIR and VNIR cameras as light as five kilograms.
In March this year, Dr Cédric Chaminade from Raymax Applications in Sydney attended a training session at HySpex Norway.
“Apart from being exposed to very cold weather of -15 degrees Celsius, we were also exposed to some outstanding developments where HySpex cameras are being used,” Dr Chaminade said.
“HySpex worked very closely with a third-party Canadian developer, Applanix, a spin-off of Honeywell, to develop a highly efficient UAV mapping solution. Bringing their 20 years of development experience to the table, Applanix first provided HySpex with the APX-15 UAV, a survey grade multi-frequency GNSS receiver and MEMS inertial sensors all on a single board.”
Applanix’s POS AV is a commercial GNSS-Inertial solution for airborne direct georeferencing, precisely measuring aerial sensor position and orientation hundreds of times each second and accounting for all motion variables at the moment of data capture.
Dr Chaminade was optimistic about the potential for hyperspectral imaging. “Being able to offer this highly specialised capability in HySpex cameras makes hyperspectral imaging a really great option. Along with the on-board software, improved interoperability of the huge amounts of data gathered during scanning provides real advantages to end users, whatever their purpose.”