GEM - UAV Sensors and UAV Systems
Unmanned Airborne Vehicles are pilot-less aircraft that are flown on military, police and now commercial missions for a variety of applications. They have gained rapid acceptance and popularity as they are relatively inexpensive, collect good quality data, and they can be equipped with many kinds of sensors, ranging from simple cameras to infrared cameras ,and now to, magnetometers.
Driven initially by military applications, platforms, such as helicopter and fixed wing, have evolved significantly in the last ten years with new technology improvements, efficiency, range, size, and payload of UAVs. While these developments have been outside the commercial sector, this trend is changing as more and more commercial applications are uncovered.
In commercial applications, UAVs are well-suited for mapping mineral deposits, mapping pipelines and other buried infrastructure, potentially surveying hydro lines for breaks, and police missions involving detection of small buried arms or buried “fresh” graves.
Mineral exploration is a natural fit for a UAV for a number of reasons. Manned flights in remote areas are dangerous and cost significant resources to support, including mechanics, fuel dumps and more. UAVs are easier to launch, mobilize, set up and refuel. Moreover, UAVs can fly in most weather and at night – giving significant productivity gains over conventional airborne surveys.
An Exploration example:
Drones vs Ground Surveys
It takes 1 man day to walk roughly 10-15 line km of mag survey. To do a grid of 100 line km , it would take roughly 10 days, plus all the support of food etc. A drone could collect 100 line km in less than one day. In addition, the safety concerns of a man / woman out in the bush for 10 days are real with respect to personal injury. Use of a drone, mitigates much of the risk associated with a survey like this.
Whereas the drone is flying higher and therefore the signal is slightly reduced, the shear density of the data, both along line and between tightly spaced lines of 10m, far outweighs the sparse data collected on the ground , that is susceptible to near surface noise, such as boulders and operator shake.
Drones vs Airborne Surveys
Planes are well suited for the execution of surveys in the 1000 line km to 50,000 line km. Whereas an airborne survey provides clean quality data, safety restrictions force the plane to fly at a minimum of 300ft in most cases , and line spacing of typically 100m. With a drone, flight height is less, typically 150 feet, and line spacing can now be effectively flown at 10m. This creates a level of information not seen in the exploration world before. This kind of detail will ultimately lead to new understandings and discovery.
Other applications include UXO,Engineering and Environmental work.
Key Component of an Effective UAV Magnetometer System
GEM’s airborne precision Potassium Magnetometer technology has been proven on Fixed Wing and Helicopter systems and has demonstrated the absolute best heading error in the industry.
Part of its success is due to its components – specially designed for high resolution and noise-free data: Responses of a dipolar target fall off as the inverse cube of distance so the farther from the source – the smaller the signal. This can be compensated for by using an ultra-sensitive magnetometer such as the Potassium optically pumped version.
Development of the Monarch UAV gradiometer plane, lead to advances in our Potassium technology that ultimately made our high sensitivity sensor smaller and lighter.
The GEM GSMP 35U Potassium UAV magnetometer is at the core of our UAV offering.
- Weight: 1.0 kg
- Sensitivity: 0.0003 nT @ 1 nT
- Heading Error: + / – 0.05 nT 360 degrees full rotation about axis
- Resolution: 0.0001 nT
- Absolute Accuracy: +/- 0.05 nT
- Sampling Rate: 10, 20 Hz (higher optional)
- Sensor Orientation: optimum angle 35 degrees between sensor head axis and field vector