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1. WO2016140985 - FLIGHT PLANNING FOR UNMANNED AERIAL TOWER INSPECTION

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[ EN ]

CLAIMS

I claim:

1. A method to plan a flight to inspect a tower with an unmanned aerial vehicle

comprising

providing a base station,

positioning said base station laterally near base of said tower within the

approximate tower height of said tower,

scanning said tower in three dimensions to create a three dimensional model of said tower relative to said base station,

determining a standoff distance for said flight,

generating a plurality of flight segments from said model maintaining said

standoff distance, positioned relative to said base station to inspect said tower.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein said scanning uses light detection and ranging.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein said scanning comprises

acquiring more than one orientation image of said tower,

creating said three dimensional model of said tower from said orientation images.

4. A flight planning system for the inspection of a tower using an unmanned aerial vehicle comprising

a base station,

a non-contact three-dimensional scanner to create a three dimensional model of said tower relative to said base station,

standoff means to determine a standoff distance for said inspection,

flight segment generation means to generate a plurality of flight segments for said unmanned aerial vehicle relative to said base station, each flight segment maintaining said standoff distance.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein said non-contact three dimensional scanner is a light detection and ranging scanner.

6. The apparatus of claim 4 further comprising

a camera to acquire orientation images,

a processor and memory to create said three dimensional model from said

orientation images.

7. A method to inspect a tower with an unmanned aerial vehicle comprising

providing a base station,

positioning said base station laterally near base of said tower within the approximate tower height of said tower,

scanning said tower in three dimensions to create a three dimensional model of said tower relative to said base station,

determining a standoff distance for said flight,

generating a plurality of flight segments from said model maintaining said

standoff distance, positioned relative to said base station to inspect said tower communicating said flight segments to said unmanned aerial vehicle,

providing a plurality of inspection sensors on said unmanned aerial vehicle, locating said unmanned aerial vehicle relative to said base station in near realtime,

flying said flight segments with said unmanned aerial vehicle while gathering inspection data with said inspection sensors.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein said scanning uses light detection and ranging.

9. The method of claim 7 wherein said scanning comprises

acquiring more than one orientation image of said tower,

creating said three dimensional model of said tower from said orientation images.

10. The method of claim 7 wherein said locating uses light detection and ranging.

11. The method of claim 7 wherein said locating uses a real-time kinematic global

positioning system.

12. A tower inspection system comprising

a base station,

a non-contact three-dimensional scanner to create a three dimensional model of said tower relative to said base station,

standoff means to determine a standoff distance for said inspection,

flight segment generation means to generate a plurality of flight segments for said unmanned aerial vehicle relative to said base station, each flight segment maintaining said standoff distance

an unmanned aerial vehicle,

inspection sensors mounted on said unmanned aerial vehicle,

locating means to determine location during flight of said unmanned aerial vehicle relative to said base station in near real time.

13. The apparatus of claim 12 wherein said non-contact three dimensional scanner is a light detection and ranging scanner.

14. The apparatus of claim 12 further comprising

a camera to acquire orientation images,

a processor and memory to create said three dimensional model from said

orientation images.

15. The apparatus of claim 12 wherein said locating means is a light detection and

ranging scanner.

16. The apparatus of claim 12 wherein said locating means comprises

a real-time kinematic global positioning base mounted on said base station, a real-time kinematic global positioning rover mounted on said unmanned vehicle, communication means for said base to communicate correction messages to said rover so said rover accurately determines its location relative to said base in near real-time.