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Headwall Combines Hyperspectral and Lidar for UAV Payloads

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Headwall Photonics has introduced advanced sensor payloads consisting of hyperspectral sensors and lidar for deployment on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platforms. Through the fusion of spectral imaging data and 3D lidar output, Headwall continues to provide new industry-leading capabilities for addressing critical remote sensing applications ranging from civil and military infrastructure inspection to crop science applications requiring discrete solutions for crop monitoring.
The Headwall payload consists of a Hyperspec spectral imager, a lidar unit, a UAV, a high-performance GPS/IMU, and the associated software for data acquisition and workflow processing for exploitation.
The combination of hyperspectral and lidar is especially powerful because the entire data set can be acquired on inexpensive UAV platforms with both sensor instruments operating simultaneously. Headwall’s software will allow for the control of both instruments, utilize the Digital Elevation Map for image creation, and allow for the merging of spectral datasets with the 3D point cloud.
As instruments get smaller and lighter and UAVs get more robust and powerful, Headwall’s integrated airborne packages are designed for low-altitude, high precision flight for applications where high spectral and spatial resolution is required. Headwall’s focus is on integrating these sensor modalities and providing the necessary image workflow analysis for data exploitation.
Headwall’s implementation of hyperspectral and lidar also involves a high-performance GPS/IMU, which collects both geographical data (the GPS) and roll/pitch/yaw information from the UAV (the IMU). This data as well as lidar and hyperspectral information is stored aboard Headwall’s small Nano-Hyperspec, which includes a 500GB solid-state drive within its enclosure. Combined, the entire data set will represent a geo-rectified point cloud consisting of fused spectral and lidar output, an industry first.