Embedded LiDAR technology on drone

LiDAR technology is an innovative laser remote sensing technique that maps an environment in 3D using accurate direct georeferencing.

LiDAR is used in many applications: precision agriculture, forestry, mine and quarry, roads and railways, inspection of infrastructure and power lines, and archeology.

Hélicéo develops its own LiDAR system

Hélicéo sets up a LiDAR system designed to be embedded on a drone. This one is included in SuperFox6 multi-rotor drone. To meet the different surveyors needs, the company offers two LiDAR systems: the H16 (16 beams) and the H32 (32 beams). Thanks to the universal connectivity “HConnect” development, this system is very easy to use. Indeed, just choose the desired system and fix it to the drone. Thus, the small size of the sensor makes it compact and easily transportable.

The various systems integrate the best components of the market at the level of the LiDAR head, the RTK and the inertial trajectory. To do this, Hélicéo uses new Trimble Applanix cards as well as a new Trimble PostPack and RealWorks software suite. The technical specifications of the Helicéo systems reflect the innovations expected on the market such as 360 ° panoramic view or 3D data in real time. This LiDAR system performs well over a long distance of up to 200 m range. Thanks to the dual return mode, it is possible to capture details with more and more accuracy (+ or – 3 cm).

The systems characteristics  depend on the number of laser beams. Indeed, it should be known that these are emitted vertically with different emission angles. Then they scan the area to be raised horizontally.


Discover the LiDAR H16 and H32 systems characteristics:



The LiDAR H16 system (16 beams) :

The H16 system has 16 laser beams. It is lighter and smaller than the H32 system with a maximum weight of 830 g. It can capture up to 600,000 points per second. This LiDAR system is also particularly profitable compared to other equivalent solutions on the market.

The LiDAR H32 system (32 beams) :

The H32 system has 32 laser beams. The more channels and scan lines in the vertical field, the higher the angular resolution and the point cloud density. This LiDAR system allows to raise up to 1.2 million points per second.



An innovative LiDAR drone : the SuperFox6 LiDAR





• Speed of data acquisition: the measurement by LiDAR is direct and does not require post-processing. The sensor can survey until 1,200,000 points per second and thus cover up to 150ha (370 acres) in a single flight.

• Easily transportable: LiDAR technology can be embedded easily on a drone thanks to its light weight.

• High precision data: The laser data are accurate to a few centimeters.

Distance measurement by LiDAR

LiDAR technology (Light Detection and Ranging) enables high-precision measurements and represents in real time an environment in a point cloud during a drone mission.The distance between the LiDAR and the object is determined by measuring the time elapsed between the emission and receipt of the laser wave.
Lasergrammetry occurs when photogrammetry has limits. LiDAR sensors can get through certain materials such as vegetation to reach the ground. For the same beam, the LiDAR can receive several echoes, which allows to create the different classes of vegetation (leaves, trunk, low vegetation and ground).
LiDAR is also more efficient than photogrammetry on complex geometry objects or scenes (wired network, smooth surfaces)


LiDAR sensor specifications

  • Specifications

  • PayloadLiDAR
  • Number of lasers16 or 32 beams single and dual echo
  • Measurement RangeUp to 100m
  • Accuracy+- 3 cm
  • Field of view360° (Horizontal) / 30° (Vertical)
  • Rate (H16)• Single Return Mode: -300,000 points / sec
    • Dual Return Mode: -600,000 points / sec
  • Rate (H32)• Single Return Mode: -600,000 points / sec
    • Dual Return Mode: -1,200 000 points / sec
  • Environmental ProtectionIP67 (Dust and Water)
  • IMURoll & Pitch 0.025° PPK
  • Typical scanning areaUp to 150 ha (370 acres)

  • Software

  • Mission PlanningHASK – Planner
  • GNSS ProcessingPOSPac MMS and HASK Geoprocessor
  • OutputGeoreferenced point cloud (.XYZ, .LAS, .LAZ)
  • Point cloud processingTrimble RealWorks

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