GeoSlam Ltd., developer of SLAM based mobile indoor mapping systems, and Blackdog Robotics, a manufacturer of modular robots, are working together to offer an indoor mapping solution.
“Since the launch of the ZEB-REVO system in March 2016 with its auto rotating sensor, the REVO has facilitated autonomous operation and deployment on multiple platforms,” says Mark Reid, COO at GeoSlam. “We are therefore excited to be working with Blackdog to take this one step further and mount the system on an unmanned platform that can be operated remotely.”
Through a combination of the Blackdog mobile platform, which can be remotely operated at distances of more than 500 meters without line of sight, and the GeoSlam ZEB-REVO mobile indoor mapping system it is now possible to quickly map challenging environments in 3D without putting personnel at risk.
With a standard top speed of 3.8 miles per hour, the Blackdog mobile robot can traverse a multitude of landscapes and environments, including sand, mud, debris, water and snow. It can operate in temperatures ranging from -40 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. With the REVO’s datalogger safely stowed inside the water- and dust-resistant casing of the robot, the two technologies operate in perfect tandem.
“Blackdog is a rugged multi-mission configurable robotic platform designed from the ground up for maximum modularity and ease of operation. With interchangeable deck modules the platform can quickly host a number of different cameras and sensors depending on the mission,” says Mike Garrod, CTO of Blackdog Robotics. “The size and simplicity of the ZEB-REVO combined with the ability for remote operation makes it the perfect 3D mapping sensor for Blackdog.”
When the ZEB-REVO is combined with on-board video, through which the system is navigated, the solution can provide mapping during high-risk operations. With a customized modification of the robotic system, the REVO can even be initialized remotely. This allows for the robotic unit to be maneuvered to the area of interest at top speed, in time-critical situations where speed is of the essence.
The ZEB-REVO is initialized at a safe distance using the handheld controller. Initialization is complete in less than one minute, and scanning commences immediately. With a 360-degree vertical field of view, the scanner collects a large amount of geospatial data in minutes, all while the robot is moving through the survey area. Once the survey is complete, the REVO scanner is stopped and the robot is moved back to a safe distance.
Data can then be downloaded from the unit’s data logger and is processed on-site using GeoSlam Desktop software, which requires no Internet connection. Processing out in the field saves time and allows for quicker results — a five-minute scan reportedly takes five minutes to process. The resulting data is a fully complete, registered point cloud of the area of interest.
GeoSlam was founded in 2012 as a joint venture between CSIRO (Australia’s National Science Agency) and 3D Laser Mapping (a global provider of 3D LiDAR solutions). The company specializes in the design and manufacture of geospatial SLAM hardware and software solutions, including the ZEB1 and ZEB-REVO handheld mobile indoor mapping systems. Based in the U.K., GeoSLAM has a global network of distributors with a presence in 38 countries across six continents.