Land surveying, topographical surveys, precise measurements, land management, border surveillance, and other security applications benefit from the use of drones for terrain mapping. Because of its capacity to record aerial data with downward-facing sensors and build geo-referenced orthomosaics, or 3D models of the project area using photogrammetry, drone technology has a lot of potential for topographic surveys and identifying events like fire and floods.
OVERWACTH project will use last-generation drones that integrate some of the following technologies to meet the project goals:
Data acquisition (cameras)
Drones used for fires usually include both vision and thermal cameras. The first one provides a real-time perspective of various scenarios and allows one to quickly locate the fire department or equipment. An RGB camera can be used to warn a team about challenging topography or other obstacles in the way of a fire. Meanwhile, the thermal camera looks for heat signatures from the human crew or fire hotspots. This can assist in quickly delineating the active area at a fire scene and detecting people trapped even in dense smoke. In the case of flood management, LIDAR sensors will be used to map the terrain and help mapmakers see much more detail in the landscape, including low areas where water tends to pool during floods.
Two are the key elements for the project: local (on-device) computing, and cloud computing. Data processing on-device also called edge computing, has advantages in terms of low latency, reduced backhaul, and data localization, while processing via cloud computing is more suitable for applications with mobility, scalability, and regarding device limitations. Two will be the types of drones used: a quadcopter with the transmission of raw mapping data and processing into a 3d map in the ground station and a VTOL that will use edge computing.
Tethered Drone communications relay system will provide a backup communication network on-site to complement the existing communication infrastructure. This innovative communications solution will have a ground component, composed of the satellite communications hardware, and an aerial component, acting as a communications tower providing network coverage using technologies such as Wi-Fi 6/6E/7 and 5G.
Satellite imagery: Copernicus Sentinel-2 acquired on 13 July 2022 (source: Copernicus Image of the day).
In-situ imagery: Captured by the Robotto drones.