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xNAV550 used with Riegl VUX-1 laser scanner on Aeroscout UAV to survey power lines

Customer Stories September 15, 2015

In UAV surveying, payload and accuracy are two of the most important factors for both manufacturers and customers alike. Without adequate payload, it is not always possible to carry the sensor package required to complete the job in a single mission—increasing the cost for the customer as multiple missions must be flown. At the same time, without sufficient accuracy, the benefits of aerial survey seem less appealing compared to conventional techniques—despite the large amount of data collected.

One company that has addressed both these problems is Swiss UAV manufacturer, Aeroscout. Their Scout B1-100 UAV has a sector leading payload of 19 kg, can fly a 1.5 hour mission and delivers 1 cm accuracy in real-time as well as in post-process. However, in order to continue to offer their customers the best payload and accuracy possible, Aeroscout recently tested our lightweight xNAV550 while conducting a high-voltage power line survey.


The xNAV550 is the latest addition to our UAV-specific product range, and provides 2 cm accuracy and real-time output while remaining one of our smallest and lightest georeferencing systems. Compared to the Survey+ that Aeroscout have previously used—a product originally designed for ground-based mobile mapping—the xNAV550 increases the Scout B100’s available payload by nearly 12 %, thanks to its mass of just 425 g.

During the power line survey, information from the xNAV550, which has an update rate of up to 250 Hz, was used to georeference a RIEGL VUX-1 laser scanner as well as a Sony A6000 and GoPro camera. During the 14 minute flight at an altitude of 40 metres, the Scout B1-100 made two passes along a 1 km stretch of high-voltage power line to survey about 20 power masts. As well as capturing the masts and power lines, the data also captured a river, trees and buildings that are nearby—providing a great deal more empirical information to employees of power company than would be gained though a more conventional survey.

Aeroscout’s feedback about the xNAV550 has been very positive. During the flight, the xNAV550 achieved 1.6 cm position accuracy and 0.05° in roll, pitch and yaw. Data from the mission was processed using RIEGL’s RiProcess and our own free post-processing software—RT-Post process. The post-processed data includes a true-colour overlay as well as providing the distance to vegetation, distance between masts and the height of the cable above the ground measurements.

You can find out more about Aeroscout’s unique products, and the services they offer, on their website at For more information on our xNAV range of GNSS-aided inertial navigation systems and how they can help you to accurately georeference your data, please navigate to the product pages or email our sales team.

Images: Courtesy of Aeroscout

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