UAV-BASED ACQUISITION OF 3D POINT CLOUD – A COMPARISON OF A LOW-COST LASER SCANNER AND SFM-TOOLS
Keywords: Unmanned aerial vehicle, 3D point cloud, LIDAR, structure from motion, laser scanning range finder, RGB camera
Abstract. The Project ADFEX (Adaptive Federative 3D Exploration of Multi Robot System) pursues the goal to develop a time- and cost-efficient system for exploration and monitoring task of unknown areas or buildings. A fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with appropriate sensors (laser scanner, RGB camera, near infrared camera, thermal camera) were designed and built. A typical operational scenario may include the exploration of the object or area of investigation by an UAV equipped with a laser scanning range finder to generate a rough point cloud in real time to provide an overview of the object on a ground station as well as an obstacle map. The data about the object enables the path planning for the robot fleet. Subsequently, the object will be captured by a RGB camera mounted on the second flying robot for the generation of a dense and accurate 3D point cloud by using of structure from motion techniques. In addition, the detailed image data serves as basis for a visual damage detection on the investigated building.
This paper focuses on our experience with use of a low-cost light-weight Hokuyo laser scanner onboard an UAV. The hardware components for laser scanner based 3D point cloud acquisition are discussed, problems are demonstrated and analyzed, and a quantitative analysis of the accuracy potential is shown as well as in comparison with structure from motion-tools presented.