The face of modern surveying is changing. In addition to using satellites and traditional surveying equipment such as retroreflectors and optical levels, specialists use remote sensing and UAV technologies to scan the Earth’s surface. One of these technologies is Light Detection and Ranging, or LiDar. Specialists perform the sensing method remotely to examine the planet’s surface using light pulses. The instrument contains a scanner, laser and a special GPS receiver. Rather than use an airplane or helicopter, scientists are taking advantage of drone technologies imbedded with BLDC motors to keep the aircraft aloft and powered to keep costs significantly lower.
Common Applications for Drones Equipped with LiDar
- Land surveying: LiDar scanners help create digital elevation or digital terrain models using data gathered from the drone. The information collected helps create maps that are more accurate and precise.
- Power line inspection: LiDar technologies can provide detailed information about power lines and the distances between poles to analyze power line corridors and their implications.
- Law enforcement: LiDar provides law enforcement a unique way to reconstruct accident and crime scenes in 3-D for later examination and analysis.
- Archaeology: LiDar drones are helping archaeologists discover ancient ruins in a manner that’s more cost-effective than conventional aerial systems. The technology has proven effective at finding evidence of ruins that are well-conceals and nearly buried.
- Agriculture: LiDar drones can help create elevation maps of agricultural areas, as well as identify slopes and sunlight exposure areas. The technology also detects fruit on trees and monitors plant health, producing data that helps estimate yields, identify non-producing plants and provide evidence for insurance claims.
- Mining: LiDar helps measure ore extraction spaces by comparing surface data to previous scans. The technology is also used in quarry surveys.
BLDC Motors in LiDar Drones
BLDC motors are ideal for LiDar drones that will be operated for long flights or those that demand higher rotation speeds. Brushless DC motors in drones don’t use brushes to commutate the motor. Instead, they use permanent magnets and three Hall effect magnetic sensors, so that commutations are accomplished electronically. These BLDC motors produce a higher thrust to facilitate the best rotation speeds and controlled power for drones in a manner that’s highly efficient. In LiDar drones, brushless DC motors also control the laser’s positional drive.
BLDC motor manufacturers create brushless motors to be more powerful for their weight than brushed motors. They can give drones lifespans of up to 1,000 hours or more without a lot of maintenance. In some drone designs, the custom BLDC motors used are simple to replace if they become damaged in a crash.
The Rise of Solar Technologies in LiDar Drones
The solar industry is still adapting photovoltaic technologies to drone technologies. At the time of publication, engineers are attempting to build drones that have enough solar panels to run BLDC motors and charge batteries at the same time. They are also trying to create a drone that can stay aloft, or in the air, by using batteries at night that were charged with the solar power stored during the day. They’re working with the premise that a drone with brushless DC motors can stay aloft for 24 hours can theoretically stay aloft indefinitely or until mechanical problems develop.
When drones can stay aloft indefinitely, a single drone could be equipped with LiDar and sent up to map the entire surface of the planet without landing. Specialists could also use LiDar drones in a smaller geographic area to provide minute-by-minute updates to farmers about crop conditions and incoming weather patterns.
The future is here and BLDC motor manufacturers continue to push the boundaries of brushless motors and their use in drone and LiDar technologies. As a full-service custom motor manufacturer with a comprehensive BLDC motor catalog, Sinotech is invested in your operation’s success. From basic brushless motors to those with custom logic circuits, we make the process of finding and designing the best BLDC motors for your applications simple and cost effective. Contact us today and tell us about your drone.