Post-processing Lidar data is no longer the norm
The Dutch startup Aerial Precision recently demonstrated its first two sensors with integrated artificial intelligence software. Over the past few years, the company’s innovation efforts have resulted in products that make Lidar cheaper and easier to use. For example, thanks to real-time point cloud registration, the 3D data is ready as soon as scanning is completed. Two investors – Dutch and Belgian – came on board. There are plans to rapidly add more functionalities.
“Based on our ambition to dramatically improve the way information is extracted from point clouds, in 2018 we founded Aerial Precision and started to design artificial intelligence-driven Lidar systems. These can be mounted on commercial drones, mobile vehicles or operated as handheld devices by humans or robots. We want to offer a better option than photogrammetry: much faster, easier and cheaper,” said Vicente Payo-Ollero, CEO and founder, to clarify the company’s goal. This provided context for their demo day, which was organized at DronePort St.Truiden in Belgium in December 2022.
With his background in electronics engineering and specialized in sensor fusion, guidance, navigation and control of uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs or ‘drones’), Payo-Ollero has been active in the development of high-end drone systems, using photogrammetry and Lidar, all around the world. This includes for the production of the seventh season of Game of Thrones, the latest Mission Impossible movie and numerous geophysical surveys. “There is an important need to generate 3D maps, but the way they are produced is inefficient. So I started to focus on making a next-generation Lidar system that can be used with any iOS device and generates point clouds within minutes,” he continued. “There will still be situations in which photogrammetry is the best solution, but in many cases our sensors with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) will be the smarter choice. It is still a case of ‘work in progress’, but at Aerial Precision we’re focused on delivering information that is ready for use.”