The UK Ministry of Defence through their Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) issued their ‘Map the Gap’ challenge to produce a system that could enable troops to rapidly cross rivers and other wide bodies of water. The system had to be capable of surveying the land above, below and around proposed crossing points. River flow rates and other parameters that would be important in establishing how the river should be crossed also needed to be ascertained. ISS Aerospace initiated a rapid 6-month R&D programme to produce a robotic and autonomous system to accomplish this.

The Sensus L drone produced was capable of carrying a payload of 25kg and integrated Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), light detection and ranging (LiDAR) (including a topo-bathymetric scanner) and thermal and multispectral sensors. Dstl awarded ISS Aerospace a grant to continue this work.

ISS Aerospace, a leading UK innovator of cutting-edge Uncrewed Aerial Systems, is pleased to announce the unveiling of the Sensus L multi-sensor UAS. This product brings to market a truly flexible drone platform that integrates, in a modular nature, multiple, large, industrial sensors to be able to gain rapid fused mission data, utilising edge computing.

Several configurations of the Sensus L platform will be on display at Drone X, Excel London, on the 7th and 8th of September.

The flagship model integrates Ground Penetrating Radar, LiDAR, Thermal, and Multispectral sensors. It utilises a universal central payload bay, complimented by fore and aft modular sensor rails. Thanks to its 25kg maximum payload capacity and efficient design, the system is well suited to take large LiDAR sensors such as the ASTRALiTe EDGE topo-bathymetric scanner and Yellowscan Voyager/Explorer

Data is recorded and Edge-Processed onboard reducing the need for large bandwidth RF links to a ground control station. Processed data is fused in the onboard Intel I9 workstation allowing for easy to interpret data sets, which support critical decision making in a timely manner.

System architecture networks the autopilot, avionics and Intel workstation with an onboard Nvidia Xavier AI board. This gives supercomputer level processing opportunities in flight and in real time. A natural evolution of the architecture is for autonomous operations based on collected sensor data. As the system generates and records vast amounts, it can be used in real time for navigation, avoidance and on the fly tasking.

The technology was proven earlier this year as part of the UK MoD/Dstl “Map the Gap” challenge – a 6-month rapid R&D cycle to produce a robotic and autonomous system survey capability to enable military bridging of wide, wet gap crossings.

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