Bluesky Aerial Photomaps Guide Driverless Vehicle Research

July 10, 2013 -- Aerial photomaps from Bluesky are being used in the development of unmanned vehicles and intelligent transport systems. The highly detailed, map accurate images, are being used to display vehicle locations, in real time, with a level of detail not available from traditional mapping. Purchased by MIRA - a world class vehicle engineering consultancy - the imagery covers the company’s 750 acre proving ground at the heart of the automotive cluster in the Midlands, UK.

The aerial photomaps purchased by MIRA are initially being used to support the development of Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) for military and commercial off-highway applications. These vehicles can be remotely controlled or autonomously follow pre-planned routes. The Bluesky aerial photography is embedded within MIRA’s command and control systems, where it is used to display the vehicle location and the route it is following, in real time.

“The aerial photomaps give a level of situational awareness that is not necessarily available from a simple map,” commented Dr Jamie Strachan, Senior UGV Research Engineer. “In addition for our Midlands based proving ground, good quality maps just aren’t available in certain situations so aerial imagery is essential. The other benefit to using aerial photomaps is our clients use them, meaning that we have a common means of communication.”

“Bluesky were fantastic to work with,” continued Dr Strachan. “They worked with us to optimise the photos for our specific applications; exactly matching the map projection of sample routes to the imagery.”

The 25 cm resolution aerial photographs supplied by Bluesky are taken from their off-the-shelf archive which covers the whole of England, Scotland and Wales. Continuously updated on a five year rolling data capture programme, the high resolution digital images files are available in a range of formats suitable for use in desktop mapping, GIS and CAD software packages.

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