Skyfish introduces platform to automate inspection, measurement

By Patrick C. Miller | October 02, 2018

Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology developer Skyfish has introduced a computing platform for commercial drones that fully automates infrastructure inspection and measurement tasks.

Skyfish—headquartered in Missoula, Montana—said its new system provides businesses in drone service, communication infrastructure and energy with improved performance and accuracy. Skyfish supports DJI and PixHawk flight controllers and other popular drone architectures, as well as 3D modelling software from companies such as Bentley Systems Inc.

“The proven Skyfish solution is unlike any available commercial drone technology,” said Orest Pilskalns, Skyfish CEO. “Our full-stack platform provides unparalleled control over hardware, software, sensors and onboard computing power for ultimate flexibility and real-time customization. Skyfish autonomous systems can navigate almost any location including radio-denied areas that exist close to cellular towers, high-voltage power lines and many other industrial environments.”

According to Skyfish, its platform and easy-to-use interface enables almost anyone to fly, inspect and model complex infrastructure. The platform also pre-processes the collected infrastructure data and metadata to help create detailed 3D models.

“Users can quickly install and integrate the small-form, on-board computer with existing robotic, optical, thermal, navigational, radar and LiDAR devices and systems, then generate useful flight plans with very little training,” Pilskalns explained. “The result is an easily deployable system that produces hyper-accurate 3D models and orthomosaics that can be utilized immediately to measure and monitor infrastructure or inventory more accurately and more frequently than ever before.”

The Skyfish platform is currently available to selected, early-adopter customers and includes: SkyNode, an application-specific, onboard microcomputer to control the Skyfish system and any Pixhawk 2.1 or DJI A3-based airframe; SkyControl, flight planning software to create and execute flight plans; SkyFish Smart Gimbal to deliver precision angle measurement with encoded motors to capture metadata for 2D mapping and 3D modeling; and a SkyFish M6 or a DJI expandable and collapsible commercial-grade UAV.

Mike Barkasi, project manager at Bentley Systems, an infrastructure software development company, said, “For our infrastructure customers that want to enable the benefits of drone sourced data—but need engineering-grade accuracy for their 3D modeling—I believe leveraging both the Skyfish and Bentley platforms together is a good answer.”