Trimble Navigation acquires unmanned aerial vehicles

Trimble Navigation (Sunnyvale,CA, USA) has acquired privately-held Gatewing (Gent, Belgium), a provider of lightweight unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and software for photogrammetry and terrain mapping applications.

Trimble Navigation acquires unmanned aerial vehicles
Trimble Navigation acquires unmanned aerial vehicles

Trimble Navigation (Sunnyvale,CA, USA) has acquired privately-held Gatewing (Gent, Belgium), a provider of lightweight unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and software for photogrammetry and rapid terrain mapping applications.

Increasingly, UAVs are being used to provide users with the ability to create orthophotos and Digital Surface Models (DSMs) from aerial imagery. UAVs are used in a variety of applications including preliminary surveys for corridors and rights-of-way, volumetric surveys, high-level topographic surveys, and land fill inspections.

Gatewing’s X100 is a 2 kg (approximately 4.4 lbs) UAV that consists of an airframe, an integrated GPS, inertial system and a radio, a 10 Mpixel camera and a battery. Using the Trimble “Yuma” tablet computer, a predefined flight path can be planned and automated. The terrain is mapped through parallel flight paths and consecutive, overlapping camera shots during flight.

Gatewing's Stretchout desktop software creates georeferenced orthophotos and accurate DSMs from the data acquired from the UAV. As an alternative to the desktop software, users can upload images to Gatewing's cloud solution, which automatically processes the images based on the users' requirements. After a few hours, users can download their georeferenced orthophotos and DSMs from the cloud server.

"The combination of UAVs and low-altitude photogrammetry as an image collection platform opens up new opportunities for surveyors to use aerial imagery for the rapid acquisition of high-density geospatial data," says Anders Rhodin, director of Trimble's Survey Business.

The Gatewing business will become part of Trimble's Engineering and Construction division.

-- by Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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