Aviation giant Boeing has just announced that soon it will launch on the market a photo camera to be used to capture 3D aerial images, which has been specifically designed to be deployed on UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) type aircraft and helicopters, and which can have applications in several fields, ranging from reconnaissance or target acquisition for the military, or commercial applications of various kinds, as well as aerial video surveillance operations, both civilian and military.
This 3D photo camera has been developed by Spectrolab, a subsidiary company of Boeing, over more than two years of design and different tests on UAVs. Compared to similar devices for capture of 3D images, it has the advantage of a smaller size (its encumbrance is roughly one third of similar models), as well as a ten times lower energy consumption, a factor of vital importance for UAVs, which are powered by battery packs, making every inch of power important.
To create its 3D images, during flight the photo camera sends short and quick laser pulses towards the ground, measuring the duration of every pulse’s flight time to determine the distance of the ground from the device thanks to its set of sensors and imaging software.
Once the test stage on UAVs is over, Boeing will also be studying the possibility of adding video capabilities, in order to add further potential to its three dimensional imaging system, in order to make it suitable for a wide range of applications on the ground, in the air and even in outer space.