Aibotix GmbH and Leica Geosystems have recently announced a license agreement granting Leica Geosystems worldwide distribution of the Aibotix X6 hexacopter. Featuring advanced, multi-sensor, intelligent guidance systems, the X6 has been designed with a strong emphasis on safety and ease of operation. This makes it an ideal platform for Leica Geosystems, a market leader in digital airborne sensors with a reputation for quality, to partner with and expand their exposure into the UAV market.
Developed out of Kassel, Germany, the 6 rotor Aibotix X6 has been developed with a focus on simplicity that promotes ease of use and a minimal learning curve for its operators. This is achieved primarily through extensive automation features that enable navigation of the aircraft via programmable flight routes. Control of the X6 is performed through an intuitive tablet PC control panel that features an innovative motion sensing capability facilitating ease of operation. An interesting feature built into this UAV is its ability to be controlled by two users, one responsible for the navigation of the aircraft whilst the other is dedicated to the operation of the camera sensors.
The Aibotix X6 comes with an intuitive camera mount that features automatic pitch and roll compensation, and has the ability to change settings from horizontal to vertical camera angle during flight. The camera mount is compatible with a variety of sensors including professional SLRs, thermographic, and video cameras, giving rise to some exciting synergies with Leica Geosystems already impressive product range. The Aibotix X6 also features first person view (FPV) which can broadcast live images from the copter to the ground station, or interestingly, to video display goggles which can be purchased as an optional extra.
In terms of performance, the Aibotix X6 exhibits an impressive balance of agility and capability for a rotary wing aircraft. It has a top speed or around 60km/h with a climb rate of 8m/sec and a maximum flying time of around 30 minutes (dependent upon payload). It weighs in at around 2.5kg, spanning approximately 3.4 feet in length and 1.5 feet in height, with an additional carrying capacity equal to its weight.
Developed with an emphasis on safety, the Aibotix X6 includes a “coming home” feature that enables the UAV to automatically return to its starting position in the event that it flies beyond communication range of its ground control system. It is also capable of performing auto-start and auto-landing to minimize risk during the periods in which the majority of aircraft accidents occur. An innovative lightweight carbon fiber casing provides the X6 with significant protection to both propellers and any persons during close proximity flight operations. An exciting feature on the development road map for the Aibotix X6 is a collision avoidance and automatic distance control feature that uses a combination of sensor systems, artificial intelligence and image processing, and is scheduled for release in Q4 of 2013.
Further information about the Aibotix X6 can be found at the Aibotix website.