Tools & Technologies

By Amrika Ramjewan

Yuneec's drone flies into the industrial future

Advances in technology, lower costs and improved regulation have combined to make drones, or small, unmanned aircraft systems, an economically viable option in industries that need to gather and process large amounts of visual data.

Yuneec International’s H520 UAV can inspect power lines, construction sites, wind turbines and other areas where manned inspections are difficult or unsafe.
Yuneec International’s H520 UAV can inspect power lines, construction sites, wind turbines and other areas where manned inspections are difficult or unsafe.

In the electric aviation space, Yuneec International has differentiated itself with the H520 UAV system, a commercial aerial solution that can be used across multiple industries. An all-inone package, the H520 features a sixrotor platform, ST16S ground station, enterprise-grade cameras, removable batteries and DataPilot, its integrated mission planning software.

Built for industrial use, the H520 airframe was designed to deliver stable, precise flight, with the ability to maintain its position in high-wind environments. A retractable landing gear permits efficient flight control and continuous, 360-degree data capture in the field.

Flight data is stored to an onboard SD card in 4K/2K/HD video or 12 megapixel still images and transmits to the ST16S ground station. The Androidbased ST16S ground station functions as a controller and features a large 7-inch LCD display panel, with flight speed controls for maximum precision in rugged conditions. Real-time footage of flight data is displayed within a range of up to 1 mile (1.6 kilometers). The ST16S can also be used for mission planning and includes an HDMI output slot for sharing onboard data.

Yuneec International offers three interchangeable camera payload options, the E90, E50 and the CGOET thermal imaging camera. Removable 15.2-volt lithium polymer batteries enable the H520 to fly for up to 28 minutes. The H520 can also be tethered to the ground for longer periods of time, capturing time-lapse footage or being used as a portable fixed camera solution.

Each camera payload is hot-swap capable, meaning that the cameras can be swapped out without powering down the UAV system. This maximizes flexibility, saves significant time and improves consistency of data storage by eliminating the need for multiple data storage devices and locations.

Featuring a high-resolution, all glass, 23-millimeter wide-angle lens and gimbal stabilized imaging system, the E90 camera delivers detailed imagery at a high frame rate with low distortion and minimal lens dispersion. The E90 camera is well-suited for applications that require high-quality photos and video, making it an ideal choice for use by law enforcement, fire, search and rescue and other public safety agencies, as well as 3-D mapping/modeling by production professionals.

The E50 camera features an all glass, low distortion lens system with a 40-millimeter focal length, and high aperture 1/2.3-inch CMOS imager. The medium focal length allows the E50 to capture close-up visuals while maintaining a safe distance from its subject. This makes the E50 camera ideal for use in infrastructure inspection settings, including construction, cell towers, wind turbines, oil and gas platforms, and other vertical assets, particularly when a manned inspection would be deemed unsafe.

As the demand for affordable, faster and safer gathering and processing of visual information increases, growth in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles will continue across multiple industries.

Amrika Ramjewan is a health systems engineer at Mayo Clinic. She is a member of IISE's Young Professionals group, the Society for Health Systems (SHS) and the Society of Caribbean Industrial Engineers.