Large area coverage using drone mounted multi-camera systems


The recent advancements in commercial drone performance and capability have seen their use in private industries proliferate. In terms of large area coverage, low-flying drones can accomplish the same tasks as larger unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and small manned aircraft. Traditional methods of capturing this imagery, including single wide field of view (WFOV) cameras and gimbal-mounted systems, can be replaced by small camera arrays. Single WFOV lenses deliver poor resolution at the ground level. Similarly, the use of a narrow field of view (NFOV) lens would necessitate the use of a gimbal, a pivoted support used in camera stabilization-yielding a heavier, more expensive system that relies on additional moving parts. By utilizing multiple lightweight sensors, large area coverage while maintaining good ground sample resolution can be achieved as well as promise a more robust system. This paper will explore the creation and testing of one such system, describe a means by which more advanced systems can be developed, and introduce a metric so as to compare its performance against various modeled systems.