RAL Space’s Autonomous Systems Group has ownership of a number of UAV assets
to support field testing and instrumentation deployment activities. A number of
the UAVs are commercially available, off-the-shelf such as DJI Inspire 1 or the
QuestUAV Q200 and Q300, while some are
adapted for specific deployments such as the Vertical Take-off and Landing
fixed wing UAV craft, the FireFly 6 PRO.
The Q200/300 large fixed
wing craft are primarily used for the collection of surveying or photogrammetry
datasets. Their configuration enables them to have large runtimes and combined
with a large area coverage suits them for large-scale applications (e.g. DEM
construction of an area several square kilometers in size). Their size and
complexity require that a team of two people operate the craft, with a pilot
and commander role being necessary. The craft differ in their payload capacity,
with the Q300 having a larger payload available for sensors such as NDVI or multi-spectral.
A number of sub-1kg instruments can be deployed on
board these UAVs (such as NDVI, Multi-spec cameras etc.), however they are
typically used for surveying and photogrammetry activities.