Measuring large areas fast and accurately to the centimeter

There is a link between increasing population density and growing traffic density on the one hand and greater wear and tear of traffic infrastructure on the other. Accordingly, the regular monitoring of infrastructure elements such as bridges, roads, rails, buildings or supporting elements and installations is of increasing importance when it comes to ensuring safety in public spaces. However, this is still done only occasionally and selectively by means of a large number of different systems, in most cases manually. The procedure is time-consuming, in some cases unreliable and expensive. Capturing large infrastructure objects from the air is thus a smart alternative: it is fast, efficient and provides a digital database containing all the important information being exploitable for a variety of purposes.

Lightweight Airborne Profiler LAP

With its LAP, Fraunhofer IPM has developed an innovative monitoring system measuring reliably infrastructure elements from the air using a combination of laser scanners and cameras. The measuring system, weighing less than 3 kilograms, is mounted on a UAV. It consists of a laser scanner, several cameras and optional positioning sensors such as GNSS or IMU. The LAP captures an area of several hundred square meters in less than ten minutes. Across the flight direction, the laser scanner generates up to 60 measuring profiles per second with 500 measuring points each. The precision of a single point measurement is around 1 cm.

The system can be easily transported to critical locations and collect data over short time intervals. The LAP provides geo-referenced data that can be transferred to a database system and be compared with earlier data sets.

Application scenario construction progress: captured from the air, automatically evaluated with 3DAI

On large construction sites, huge quantities of material and objects are moved every day. The LAP keeps track on construction sites from the air in order to document these daily changes, even on traffic route construction sites. The recorded 3D and image data are automatically evaluated with a specially developed software, the Deep Learning Framework 3D-AI.

Individual objects on the construction site are identified and projected into the point cloud. The result is an object-based, textured 3D model of the construction site.