Topcon unveils new UAS for aerial mapping

By Emily Aasand | September 04, 2014

Topcon Positioning Group recently announced the release of two unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for mapping—the Sirius Pro and Sirius Basic. Both will allow for accurate automated mapping for a wide variety of applications from a utility, construction and earth moving and mines aspect, to land surveying and precision agriculture field mapping.

“The Sirius Pro system is unique to the UAS marketplace,” said Eduardo Falcon, executive vice president and general manager for the Topcon GeoPositioning Solutions Group. “The Sirius Basic shares the same hardware components of the Pro model, providing affordability with the same level of sturdiness and ease of operation. Additionally, when the need arises for the increased accuracy and productivity of the Pro system, a simple upgrade makes the transition practically effortless.”

The two systems were created from a partnership with MAVinci GmbH, a UAS development company headquartered in Germany with which Topcon recently entered a worldwide distribution agreement.

“MAVinci decided to use our B-110 receiver board in their Sirius UAS and that started the relationship,” said Dave Henderson, director sales—geospatial solutions. “We then decided, in our European office, to basically sign a contract with them and resell the MAVinci Sirius project in Europe and that started in October 2013.”

According to the company, at the time of the agreement, that was the world’s first UAS that implemented Real Time Kinematic (RTK) solutions.

“Instead of using traditional ground control points, Topcon combines RTK Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) solutions with precision timing technology to provide more accurate mapping results when compared to other products,” said Falcon.

Henderson added, “What the RTK does, is utilize a GNSS base receiver that transmits data in real time to the UAV. You’re basically tying the orthophotos to aerial controls in the air, rather than on the ground. Which in the end saves time.”

The company believes these new devices to be a simplistic approach to collecting ground information—digital terrain and surface models—that allows them to create maps, volumes and calculations for the customer.

And for Topcon, proper training for customers on the new UAS is key.

“We believe that if the user does not have the knowledge on UAS workflow and ground piloting skills that we’re not doing them justice in just selling them a plane,” said Henderson. “We offer the full solutions from installation to training to support so they can get the most out of these products.”