PITTSBURGH, Nov. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Michael Baker International, a global leader in engineering, planning and consulting services, has expanded its cutting-edge inspection services with the purchase of a Topcon Falcon 8 unmanned aircraft system (UAS). The new Falcon 8 joins the company's growing UAS fleet, and offers a new perspective for Michael Baker pilots to achieve highly precise aerial imagery and mapping during the inspection of infrastructure elements for customers.
Combined with Michael Baker's mobile and static Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) systems for data collection, the integration of this new UAS creates a safer, more intricate solution for inspection and mapping. By utilizing the system's flight stability and high-resolution 32-megapixel digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera, Michael Baker pilots can capture more precise imaging and video in tight spaces, challenging environments and windy situations. The rotary-wing UAS features eight rotors, three individual inertial measurement units (IMU) to calculate and fix the device's position, fully automated flight routes in both two- and three-dimensions, precise structure analysis and damage detection, and maximum safety with triple redundancy. Operating as a two-person team, Michael Baker inspectors—one piloting the flight and the other using 3D goggles for a First Person View (FPV)—can establish unprecedented viewpoints for data capturing imagery. Additionally, the Falcon 8's integrated thermal camera creates new service offerings for Michael Baker's clients as the company can monitor for heat loss and thermal leakage in concrete and pipeline inspections, and conduct heat surveys of buildings looking to achieve LEED certification.