senseFly recently announced its brand-new UAV solution called eBee X, giving 'GIM International' a good excuse to pose a few questions to the company’s CEO, Gilles Labossière, who joined senseFly earlier this year. What makes this new UAV different from the rest? What about the payloads and the point cloud processing software? And last but not least, what are Labossière’s thoughts on the future of the professional drone market?
Why is the launch of the brand-new eBee X UAV solution such an important milestone for senseFly?
senseFly’s team of expert engineers have been working diligently to develop a solution that meets the evolving needs of mapping professionals. Our goal, as ever, is to drive the industry forward. What we see as driving, and will continue to drive, the growth of the commercial UAV industry is the knowledge that it is largely not about the drone; first and foremost, it’s about the user – the professional in fields such as agriculture, construction, real estate, mining and quarrying, public safety and more. For these professionals, drone adoption is about overcoming everyday business challenges while boosting the quality, efficiency and safety of geospatial data collection.
Can you tell us more about the payloads that accompany the eBee X?
Obtaining highly detailed, accurate insights is key for our customers. As such, we have developed a range of new camera options for the eBee X to suit every mapping job – from land surveying and topographic mapping to urban planning, crop mapping, thermal mapping and environmental monitoring. The senseFly S.O.D.A. 3D, for instance, uses a one-inch sensor to capture a wider field of view and can produce intricate, digital 3D reconstructions of vertically focused environments like urban areas or coastlines. To facilitate mapping in almost all light conditions, the new senseFly Aeria X camera features Smart Exposure technology that enables professionals to map for more hours per day than ever before, while also offering DSLR-standard image quality. Operators can also create geoaccurate thermal maps and digital surface models with the senseFly Duet T, a dual-camera thermal mapping rig which can be synchronised with Pix4Dmapper photogrammetry software to simplify the map reconstruction process. With these revolutionary new payloads, the eBee X offers a multi-purpose, comprehensive mapping solution for a wide range of environments and verticals.
The new solution has been developed for a wide variety of applications. How does it benefit the ‘traditional’ surveyor?
Indeed, the eBee X is versatile. It can operate in several different environments and it is reliable enough to meet the exacting requirements of almost any project. In the surveying industry specifically, the eBee X can be used for cadastral surveying, topographic mapping, construction surveying, corridor mapping and large-area mapping. The eBee X benefits ‘traditional’ surveyors in two key ways. Firstly, the eBee X’s Endurance Extension technology unlocks a flight time of up to 90 minutes and can achieve single-flight coverage of up to 500 hectares at 122m (400 ft). Secondly, surveyors can activate the high-precision-on-demand (HPoD) built-in RTK/PPK when their project requires it. These two elements are unique to the eBee X and provide surveyors with unmatched efficiency and precision.
There is considerable demand for accurate and easy-to-use point cloud processing software for UAVs. Are there any plans for senseFly to capitalise on this opportunity?
senseFly’s strong, ongoing relationship with Pix4D – a leading provider of photogrammetry software, fellow Parrot Group company, and another key player within the wider Parrot Business Solutions activity – has enabled us to provide best-in-class drone mapping solutions that produce highly precise, georeferenced 2D maps and 3D models using point cloud data. The seamless integration of this software with senseFly drone hardware has enabled our customers to quickly and easily incorporate drone technology into their everyday business operations and existing workflows. As UAVs continue their trajectory to becoming essential mapping tools, especially with the launch of the eBee X technology, we look forward to further building on this collaboration as the needs of geospatial professionals evolve.
How do you envision the future of the professional UAV market for the mapping and surveying industry?
With more surveying and mapping professionals using UAV technology than ever before, we anticipate that the demand for precision, accuracy and efficiency in end-to-end drone solutions will continue to grow. We believe the eBee X is a major step forward for mapping technology and the geospatial market as a whole, and we are excited to play a part in setting new standards for our customers and the industry alike.
About Gilles Labossière
Gilles Labossière is the executive vice president and COO of Parrot Group and recently became the CEO of senseFly, a commercial drone subsidiary of Parrot Group. He is focused on further boosting senseFly’s growth and utilising his extensive professional expertise across Parrot’s wider Business Solutions group to help drone operators make better decisions, faster.
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