Trimble Gatewing X100
The Trimble Gatewing X100 is a fixed-wing unmanned aircraft designed for mapping and surveying professionals. Acquired by Trimble in 2012 from privately-held Belgium company “Gatewing”, the low-altitude photogrammetry platform opens up new opportunities for rapid acquisition and high density data collection. The X100 serves as an ideal compliment to Trimble’s existing VISION technology product range of total stations and 3D laser scanners, which in combination, enables a project to be analyzed and realized from multiple perspectives.
Trimble’s Gatewing X100 is capable of capturing digital surface models and orthophoto mosaics in either visible light or composite infrared. Trimble state that the point cloud density and accuracy which can be obtained from the Gatewing X100 is comparable to LiDAR results with a planimetric (xy plane) accuracy of 5cm and a height accuracy (z axis) of 10cm when captured at a default altitude of 150m. Consequently, the Trimble Gatewing is currently being used in a range of sectors whereby survey forms a valuable component of the business workflow including engineering, mining, heavy earthworks construction, and agriculture and forestry.
For mining, in particular, the X100 serves as a valuable tool for assessment and inventory, surface exploration, determination of removed volumes, and volume calculation of stockpiles. A key advantage that the X100 provides over conventional methods is that the work is not performed in-situ and as such does not intervene in the mining process, which ensures optimal safety for the surveyors. The X100 also provides an ideal solution for surveying locations that are remote, difficult or dangerous areas to access.
A notable strength of the Trimble Gatewing X100 is its ease of operation and fully automatic flights from launch to landing. This greatly minimizes the level of piloting expertise required by an operator, with the pilot in control facilitating the aircraft’s operations by selecting the region to be covered and indicating a takeoff and landing location.
The Gatewing X100 has a wingspan of 100cm and is constructed from expanded polypropylene foam and a carbon frame structure, weighing approximately 2.2kg. It is powered by an electric pusher propeller and brushless 250W motor that is capable of a maximum flying time of 45 minutes. Its cruising speed is 80km/h, with a flight range of 53km, a communication and control range of 5km, and a maximum altitude of 2500m. Launch of this fixed-wing UAV is via a launching catapult with the aircraft requiring a take off angle of 14 degrees and belly landing at 6 degrees. Recommended landing space requirements are 150m x 30m.
The imagery captured from the X100 can be processed with Trimble’s state of the art Business Center (TBC) Photogrammetry Module which enables users to create quality geospatial products without requiring specialized photogrammetry experience. Functionality of the TBC includes the easy adjustment of aerial photo stations, the ability to accurately measure photogrammetry points, the automatic generation of 3D point clouds, and the creation of digital surface models and orthophotographs.
More information about the Trimble Gatewing X100 can be found at Trimble’s product website.