/ Corporate / senseFly Announces eBee RTK Survey-grade Mapping Drone

senseFly Announces eBee RTK Survey-grade Mapping Drone

Matt Ball on June 11, 2014 - in Corporate, Sensors

The eBee RTK by senseFly is a fully autonomous survey-grade mapping drone (or UAV/UAS). It features a built-in L1/L2 GNSS receiver and is capable of receiving corrections from most leading brands of base station via its supplied eMotion 2 flight control software and ground modem. This ensures the high positional accuracy of the drone’s images without the need for Ground Control Points (GCPs).

eBee RTK workflowThe eBee RTK is sold as a standalone solution – comprising the drone itself, eMotion 2 flight planning & control software, and Postflight Terra 3D photogrammetry software (powered by Pix4D). No extra base station purchase is necessary and no additional logger or third-party software are required.

eBee RTK over mine

3 ways to work with the eBee RTK:

1. Real Time Kinematic

  • Place your base station on a known position
  • Correction data is streamed to the drone via its eMotion flight control software and ground modem (see graphic on previous page)

2. Virtual base station

  • Configure the drone’s eMotion software to receive VRS/Ntrip correction data (internet connection & VRS/Ntrip subscription required)
  • Creates a virtual base station location
  • Correction data is streamed to the drone via its eMotion flight control software and ground modem

3. Post processing

  • Position your base station in a convenient on-site location
  • Its coordinates are set automatically in eMotion 2
  • The base station streams correction data to the drone via eMotion and the ground modem (see graphic on previous page)
  • Post-flight, geotag images with correction data either on-site (requires internet access) or in the office later

Key features

  • Survey-grade accuracy 
Absolute orthomosaic / Digital Elevation Model accuracy of down to 3 cm (1.2 in) without the need for GCPs – for less time spent in the field and high precision even in inaccessible areas.
  • Fully integrated workflow
The eBee RTK’s flight planning and control software (eMotion 2) connects to the base station and broadcasts correction data to the rover (eBee RTK) – no additional logger or third-party software required. This software can also be used to apply corrections later via post-processing.
  • Base station compatible
The eBee RTK is compatible with most leading brands of base station, working seamlessly alongside your existing portfolio of instruments.
  • Autonomous
The eBee RTK flies, acquires images and lands itself.
  • Lightweight
The eBee RTK weighs just 0.7 kg (1.5 lbs) –  minimising its power usage (optimizing its flight time) and ensuring the safety of people and objects on the ground.

Technical specifications: GPS

  • Number of channels: 226
  • Signal tracked
  • GPS: L1, L2, L2C
  • GLONASS: L1, L2, L2C
  • QZSS
  • Onboard RTK correction: 20 Hz
  • Upstream correction: 1 Hz
  • Geotag accuracy (typical)
  • Standalone: H: 1.2m, V: 1.8m
  • RTK, relative to base station: H:15mm, V: 20mm
  • Acquisition time
  • Hot start: <10s
  • Warm start: <35s
  • Cold start: <60s
  • Reacquisition: <1s

Technical specifications: drone

  • Weight (inc. camera & battery): 0.7 kg (1.5 lbs)
  • Wingspan: 96 cm (38 in)
  • Material: EPP foam, carbon structure & composite parts
  • Propulsion: electric pusher propeller, brushless 160 W motor
  • Battery: 11.1 V, 2100 mAh
  • Camera (default): adapted 16 MP still camera
  • Carry case dimensions: 55 x 45 x 25 cm (21.6 x 17.7 x 9.8 in)
  • Maximum coverage (single flight): 10 km2 (3.9 mi2)
  • Maximum flight time: 40 minutes
  • Cruising speed: 36-57 km/h (10-16 m/s)
  • Radio link range: up to 3 km (1.86 miles)
  • Ground sampling distance (GSD): down to 2 cm (0.78 in)
  • Orthomosaic accuracy: down to 3 cm (1.18 in)
  • Digital Elevation Model (DEM) accuracy: down to 5 cm (1.96 in)
  • Multi-drone operation possible (inc. mid-air collision avoidance)
  • 3D flight planning
  • Compatible with Topcon, Trimble & Leica base stations
  • Compatible with VRS & Ntrip networks

In the box

  • eBee RTK foam body (inc. all electronics & built-in autopilot)
  • Pair of detachable foam wings
  • 16 MP still camera
  • 2.4 GHz USB radio modem for data link (inc. USB cable)
  • Two Lithium-Polymer battery packs & charger
  • Spare propeller
  • Carry case with foam protection
  • Remote control & accessories (for safety pilots)
  • User manual
  • Fully featured software included


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