The possible applications for drones are growing every day. From watching out for poachers in wildlife parks in Africa to delivering textbooks to students, the autonomous flying machines are tackling problems both big and small. The ability for the drones to have onboard sensors and HD cameras makes them ideal tools for mapping and surveillance.
Taking that idea to the extreme, engineers from senseFly, partnered with Drone Adventures, Pix4D and Mapbox, were able to create a digital model of the Matterhorn with a 20-cm resolution in three dimensions. Two teams took the company's eBee drones to the mountain with Team 1 hiking to the summit and launching the devices to fly around the top of the peak. Team 2 launched eBees from the bottom of the mountain to cover the lower parts of the mountain.
SenseFly says, "The main challenges successfully overcome were to demonstrate the mapping capabilities of minidrones at a very high altitude and in mountainous terrain where 3D flight planning is essential, all the while coping with the turbulences typically encountered in mountainous environments."
For the project, 11 flights were made totaling 340 minutes. The drones took 2,188 photos and created an HD point-cloud with 3 million datapoints. The company's eMotion2 software provided the ground control for the flights, automatically creating flight paths for the multiple drones.
You can watch a video about the project below and see how the mapping and flight planning took place.