PPK-Mapping Drone for Highest Possible Precision and Efficiency

CONDOR V8-PPK with integrated KlauPPK-Direct Georeferencing

Benefit form a ready to fly (rtf) system for the most precise UAV aerial mapping: Made in Germany

The Condor V8-PPK is a very capable octocopter, based on CONDOR’s BOS-DRONE-V8 and has been further developed for highly precise and efficient Aerial mapping and surveying. This coaxial construction (four rotor arms with two rotors each) convinces by its robust but flow-optimized design, subsequently leading into long flight turns along with easy but highly reliable operation. Additionally we have integrated the world’s most precise GNSS mapping technology from Klau Geomatics, the Australian based UAV-geo data specialists for uncompromised accuracy and an easy workflow. The main focus of this development was aiming besides aerial safety and maintenance friendlyness and easy operations also on sustainability of the entire system.

For surveying and mapping projects, two well proven Sony cameras are available: SONY’s RX1RII with an integrated fixed focal length lens (35mm Carl Zeiss,  42 MP full frame sensor and SONY’s Alpha 6000 with fixed focal length lenses (16 or 20mm) and a 24 MP APS-C sensor, each will be precalibrated.

An ultra light, for every camera type individually optimized carbon fiber gimbal with latest stabilization technology ensures that perfect imagery are taken – not only for mapping purposes – and holds up to highest standards. A quick release system enables the payload to be changed in just a few seconds.


CONDOR V8-Coaxial-Octocopter

With only 5,2 kg take-off weight (Sony RX1RII, standard flight battery) the lightweight but very durable UAV comprises a 3D-monocoque CFC-chassis with integrated, flow optimized rotor arms and a stable CFC landing gear. Besides the control system, based on the industrial standard PX4 / PixHawk, the power electronics and the Smart Smart Battery Pack a 1080p FPV camera as well as the KlauPPK hardware is integrated dust and spill protected in the UAV-chassis.

Eight powerful high performance propellers ensure sufficient thrust and low noise emissions during the flight.  While the coaxial design is favorable for reducing overall weight of the aircraft and maintaining comfortable transport dimensions, it is key for the drone’s safety concept. The system will remain well maneuverable – even in the unlikely event of a motor failure – and can safely return to it’s home position and land  without damage for both drone and payload!

SMART BATTERY PACK – Bundled Energy for Extended Flight Times

With the development of the Smart Battery Pack, CONDOR addresses advanced safety and excellent flight times. The battery system is designed based on two 6S Lithium-Ion batteries with 9000 mAh, each and integrated smart electronics – an energie package of 399 Wh. The battery charging level or its remaining capacity can be displayed individually by the push of a button. In addition the Smart Battery Pack comiunicates continuously with the flight controller.

This enables the remote controller to display the charging level and remaining flight time at any time. The energy, required for returning the drone safely to its home position continuously is checked against the remaining capacity. Consequently the aircraft returns home just in the right moment, without overstressing the battery cells.

The Smart Battery Pack is protected against a short circuit, enabling a safe landing of the UAV even one battery fails. Achievable flight times of the mapping system (including KLAUPPK and Sony RX1RII) are over 30 minutes! If the optional available Smart Battery Packs with 2 x 12.000 mAh / 533 Wh is used the  flight time will be above 40 minutes.  A dedicated charging case is provided for charging and optimal maintenance of the Smart Battery Pack. It holds up to four Smart Battery Packs, two of them can be charged simultaneously. To protect the system from overheating an active cooling is integrated as well as a heating function for cold weather conditions. 

While LiPo-batteries are only permitted to carry on commercial flights up to  < 100Wh capacity, Li-Ion-Batterien are permitted without a limitation if they are certified according to the transport norm UN 38.3. The certification has been requested and is currently pending.

CONDOR 2-Axis Encoder-Gimbal

With less than 400 grams, this ultra light quick release gimbal is built from 100% carbon fiber composite and offers an excellent stabilization and attitude control of the camera, independent from the drone’s flight attitude. The gimbal, equipped with IMUs and powerful brushless motors with encoders, controls attitude changes of less than 0.1°/axis and absorbes vibrations.

Mounting or changing the CONDOR V8-PPK gimbal is most easy and convenient, done within seconds. The entire cabling is integrated into the mechanical structure, the electrical connection to the UAV is just one plug, push-pull industry standard and protected against shorting.  Camera specific connections are designed to trigger the camera (manually, by time intervals or based on distance between images), transmit the live view to the ground station / remote up to FullHD (1080p), record the center of image puls and provide direct power supply for the camera, replacing the standard battery for continuous mapping of large areas.

herelink Remote Control – everything under control, always

The drone is operated based on most reliable and powerful herelink system. Data transmission for UAV control, telemetry and live image works reliable for over 2 km in the field, under ideal circumstances even much further distances can be achieved.

The remote control unit with it’s touch display is not only just very handy with easy overview and control, but offers numerous options to control payloads. The drones FPV-videostream can be toggled with the video output from the payload camera, visualizing telemetrie data etc.  No additional monitor or tablet is required to fly  and control yout mission. Even connecting to expert mission planning systems like Universal Ground Control Software (UgCS) is straight forward.

KlauPPK or KlauPPP – Post Processing or Real Time Application?

KlauPPK- KG-Basic system remains the reference for direct georeferencing (DG) using highly accurate reference / correction / base station data. The positioning accuracy as well as the accuracy of the computed photogrammetric result (3D dense point cloud) within better than three (3) centimeters in all three axis has been proven in thousands of projects!

This highly accurate yet simple to apply process for precise focal point determination usually does not require costly subscriptions for accessing CORS network or virtual reference station (VRS) data. Some countries provide this service already for free.  As alternative, any survey grade GNSS rover can be used as a base station, if you either can exactly survey its location (RTK) or you use an already marked point with known coordinates. In this case the correction data is just logged with 1 Hz frequency in RINEX format. But, what are the options if you can not access any base station data or you have a mission in a “far off” area without any suitable points (with known coordinates) to set up your rover?

The Answer is: KlauPPP (Precise Point Positioning)

Klau-KG-PRO NRT (Near Real Time) enables the use of computed correction data available for almost any position on earth, calculated based on a world wide base station network provided. These data are available just a few minutes after your flight and will be acquired and integrated by a mouse click automatically in the KlauPPK Desktop software. The only prerequisites are an internet connection for post processing and an annual subscription for this service.

Maximum flexibility and independence – not only for mapping and surveying purpose – can be realized with the Klau-KG-PRO-RT (Real Time) system. Alike the well known terrestrial RTK system, correction data will be available in real time and can be processed directly within the PPP-Module. Opposite to the transmission technology (LTE/4G/5G)  in the case of RTK, the correction data are received via an additional channel in the PPP-GNSS receiver directly from dedicated satellites. This “magic”  is based on the NovAtel TerraStar-C PRO correction service.

Using these reference data, the correction of the satellite observation data happens directly in real time inside the KlauPPP controller which sits in the drone’s chassis. This technology enables to assign the most accurate position to the sensor data (e.g. photo) in real time, optional the aircraft can navigate with centimeter accuracy based on this technology.

With regard to weight and dimensions, all three systems are alike and can be integrated in the CONDOR V8-PPK system depending on the customer’s need. By the way – PPK observation data are logged in al units, always! Integration, however does not jus mean mounting and electrical connection: With this new concept, high frequency logging of relevant aircraft parameters, required for a precise focal point determination is done inside the PPK hardware. This enables a workflow as simple and efficient than any time before!

Further information regarding KlauPPK / KlauPPP and highly precise photogrammetric aerial mapping without ground controls (GCPs) are available here:

Mission Planning with UgCS PRO

Professional mission planning is absolute key to the subsequent photogrammetric processing of the collected image and position data. Besides a defined front- and side overlap different height aspects are often underestimated. In addition obstacles or prohibited areas within the mapping filed need to be addressed and proper handled – ideally from the software.

The Condor V8-PPK mapping drone is delivered already with Universal Ground Control Software (UgCS). Missions are planned most convenient on a PC or MAC and can be tested with relevant simulation tools available. The connection between the laptop and the drone via the herelink remote controller is straight forward. This tool perfectly suites all needs and aspects even for very large and / or complex projects. As soon as there is a connection between the laptop computer and the drone /remote established, all relevant telemetrie information, position of the drone etc. will be displayed on the computer: just a full functioning ground station!

Besides classical mission planning for photogrammetric mapping UgCS offers a variety of mission modes, including e.g. facade scan, corridor scan as well as individual way point settings. All modes can be combined as desired in one mission/flight. Flying extended missions, the aircraft returns exactly to its last position prior it has been called home for battery change. Double imagery and extra flight miles are reliably eliminated. One feature, worth to mention is the option to integrate individual DEMs for achieving the most accurate altitude (AGL) control possible. Further information on UgCS is available here.

Technical Data (will follow shortly)

Our Promise

Benefit from our experience and our international professional network in the field of UAV PPK mapping and surveying. As service provider we can speak from our own experiences in operating and testing mapping systems with different UAVs. All of this plus important feedback from our customers have built the basis for selecting system components in developing the CONDOR V8-PPK!