THE DEVELOPMENT OF A FAMILY OF LIGHTWEIGHT AND WIDE SWATH UAV CAMERA SYSTEMS AROUND AN INNOVATIVE DUAL-SENSOR ON-SINGLE-CHIP DETECTOR
Keywords: Camera, unmanned aerial vehicle, CMOS sensor, hyperspectral
Abstract. Together with a Belgian industrial consortium VITO has developed the lightweight camera system MEDUSA. It combines high spatial resolution with a wide swath to support missions for large scale mapping and disaster monitoring applications. MEDUSA has been designed to be operated on a solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle flying in the stratosphere. The camera system contains a custom designed CMOS imager with 2 sensors (each having 10000 × 1200 pixels) on 1 chip. One sensor is panchromatic, one is equipped with colour filters. The MEDUSA flight model camera has passed an extensive test campaign and is ready to conduct its maiden flight. First airborne test flights with an engineering model version of the camera have been executed to validate the functionality and the performance of the camera. An image stitching work flow has been developed in order to generate an image composite in near real time of the acquired images. The unique properties of the dual-sensor-on-single-chip detector triggered the development of 2 new camera designs which are currently in preparation. MEDUSA-low is a modified camera system optimised for compatibility with more conventional UAV systems with a payload capacity of 5–10 kg flying at an altitude around 1 km. Its camera acquires both panchromatic and colour images. The MEDUSA geospectral camera is an innovative hyperspectral imager which is equipped with a spatially varying spectral filter installed in front of one of the two sensors. It acquires both hyperspectral and broad band high spatial resolution image data from one and the same camera.