On February 28, Emesent unveiled Hovermap ST, the latest version of their world-leading Hovermap autonomy and mapping payload, at the SME MinXchange conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. The tough, lightweight, IP65 rated Hovermap ST includes Emesent’s new automated ground control feature.

The company said this powerful combination is poised to set the standard for survey-grade autonomous LiDAR mapping in challenging environments.

Since its 2019 launch, Hovermap has made significant impacts in mining and other verticals. With thousands of hours of autonomous flight logged by customers around the world, the company said it is the most proven LiDAR mapping and autonomy solution for challenging GPS-denied environments.

Hovermap ST with the ground control feature builds on this reputation with significant improvements, allowing autonomous data capture in even harsher environments and for a wider range of use cases.

“We’re excited to be providing our customers with a new robust and reliable autonomous mapping tool for challenging environments, including those that were previously not well suited to SLAM-based mapping,” Emesent CEO and Co-founder Dr. Stefan Hrabar said.

Hovermap ST with the automated ground control feature enhances the SLAM solution to remove SLAM drift and produce survey grade, georeferenced point clouds.

“This is a huge step forward for mobile mapping, providing unrivaled SLAM accuracy and workflow efficiencies,” Dr. Hrabar said.

Emesent ground control targets are placed in the environment and captured in a continuous scan with Hovermap ST. There is no need to stop or place Hovermap on the targets, ensuring the capture process remains as efficient as before. The targets are automatically detected by Emesent’s SLAM processing engine and used to both improve the SLAM result and automatically georeference the point cloud to the control points. The process includes automated constellation matching between detected targets and known survey coordinates, eliminating cumbersome manual work which can introduce errors.

Hovermap ST features a lightweight, IP65 weather-sealed design, a powerful embedded computer for autonomy and mapping, and an accessory expansion port to further enhance its capabilities. The rotating LiDAR produces up to 600,000 points per second in dual return mode, covering a near spherical field of view.

Hovermap’s Tap-to-Fly autonomy feature enables Guided Exploration in previously inaccessible areas beyond line of sight and communication range. The omnidirectional Collision Avoidance and smart Return-To-Home functions ensure assets are kept safe and valuable equipment isn’t damaged or lost.

Equally capable above ground or underground, indoors or out, Hovermap ST’s unique plug-and-play design enables seamless switching between drone, walking, vehicle- or backpack-mounted scanning, providing the versatility needed to capture data anywhere.

Data capture experts worldwide have been using Hovermap to map challenging and dangerous environments, from problematic stopes in the world’s deepest base-metal mine to completing fall of ground inspections after seismic events, according to the company.

Now, Hovermap ST with automatic ground control features will empower users to capture these environments and others, more accurately and faster than ever before.