UgCS SkyHub & True Terrain Following (TTF)

The UgCS SkyHub solution is a hardware and software set designed to enhance UAV capabilities for commercial surveying and inspection purposes. In essence, it is the onboard computer that it is at the heart of your UgCS drone-based geophysical sensor system. Watch a video on setting up UgCS SkyHub and TTF on an M300RTK, here.

The UgCS Sensor System

The role of UgCS SkyHub:

  • To collect and store data acquired by an onboard sensor with altitude radar.
  • To convert and record data (including geotagging), in a format convenient for processing and analysis
  • To provide numerous types of file types for download to processing and analysis software
  • To communicate with the drone flight controller to acquire flight parameters
  • To implement custom flight control algorithms
  • To provide extended UAV diagnotics

UgCS SkyHub is currently compatible with the following DJI drones: M200, M210, M210V2, M300, M600. There is also support for any drone utilising the DJI A3 and PixHawk Arducopter controller. You can download the SkyHub Manual here.

UgCS True Terrain Following (UgCS TTF)

Using the UgCS SkyHub in combination with the Nano Radar NA24, any compatible drone can fly at a set AGL (in TTF Mode), depending on the need of the onboard sensor. For example, for Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), the drone can fly at 0.6m AGL, or for methane measurement missions, the drone may fly at 20m AGL. As well as TTF, the user may also activate GrassHopper Mode, which enables the drone to dip, return to position, and fly to the next waypoint to repeat the sequence. This feature is especially useful for conducting Hydrography surveys.

True Terrain Following (TTF)

Nomad Radar for Enabling TTF

UgCS Obstacle Detection Radar (UgCS ODR)

Using the UgCS SkyHub in combination with the UgCS ODR gives the pilot extra protection against unwanted accidents that can happen during routine sensor missions. The ODR works with the exisitng UgCS radar altimeter on the M300 RTK to provide users with extra piece of mind when flying geophysical sensor missions. The ODR is a new addition to UgCS SkyHub’s list of supported sensors and like the radar altimeter, has an easy, quick connection.

This system can be used with True Terrain-Following or TTF mode (when the radar altimeter is used to ensure a constant elevation over the ground), and in normal autopilot missions. The ODR is also extremely useful for magnetic surveys when digital elevation models (DEM) are used for mission planning, where the possibility to catch the edges of tree branches or parts of other pretruding features, remains a risk.

The ODR is available for M600 Pro and M300RTK drones. Please get in touch to find out more. Contact Us.

Obstacle Detection Radar

M300RTK ODR Configuration

Compatible Survey & Inspection UgCS Sensors

SPH Engineering provides various kits to cater for customer’s project needs. Notice how the UgCS SkyHub treats the Nano Radar as a seperate sensor. Available altitude sensors for drone kits are below, see more information on UgCS sensor kits.

  • UgCS True Terrain Following (UgCS TTF) kit
  • UgCS Ground Penetrating Radar (UgCS GPR) kit (includes UgCS TTF kit)
  • UgCS Methane Survey kit (with or without TTF kit)
  • UgCS Echosounder kit / UgCS Bathymetry Kit (includes TTF kit)

The keen eye will notice that there is no kit for Magnetometers. This is because data for all of the magnetometers (SENSYS R3, SENSYS R4 and Geomatrix MagArrow), are stored within the respective magnetometer’s recorders. Despite this, UgCS have a number of extra options that links UgCS SkyHub to the sensors providing some innovative shortcuts both for data and power. The four kits noted above, include the UgCS SkyHub computer, cables, and related UgCS software. One may extend the capabiltiies of the UgCS SkyHub by adding custom payloads. To do this, use UgCS SkyHub SDK, find more details here: SkyHub SDK

Useful Specifications and Features

The UgCS SkyHub is easily connected to any compatible drone for communications and power in seconds. With 3D printed clips (see UgCS Parts Library), mechanical fixing is quick and simple to perform. It provides options for sensor power and data using reliable and robust connectors, making them ideal for airborne applications. It provides safety features for both input and output power, and provides fully isolated and ESD-protected external interfaces.

Specifications include:

  • 32GB of onboard memory
  • Operating range -25 to +85degC
  • 12V Power Sensor Output
  • WiFi & Blootooth enabled
  • Compact Size (109mm x 69mm x 34mm)
  • Light Weight (245g)

The UgCS SkyHub device has several editions allowing to connect different payloads: 3× UART edition, 2× UART / 1× I²C edition, or 2× UART / 1× RS-232 edition. Also, one UART / RS-232 can provide either 5V or 12V voltage up to 1A for the payload power.

SkyHub Connections

Example: M300 RTK Connections

UgCS Custom Payload Monitor (UgCS CPM)

As seen above, the CPM interface is showing configuration for a UgCS Methane Survey. Here we can see three (sensors) attached; the   TTF radar enabling a constant 3m AGL, an Anenometer for recording wind speed, and lastly, the methane laser recording in Parts per Million x Metre (PPMxM).

It is through the UgCS CPM that we are provided with a choice of file types to download for post mission processing and analysis in such software as Prism 2, Pergam Gas Analser, or HydroMagic to name but a few.

The File Type Tool

CPM Download Tool

There are three items of software that users need to operate a UgCS drone sensor system. 1. UgCS Pro, 2. The UgCS companion app, and 3. The UgCS Custom Payload Monitor (CPM). The CPM is the UgCS software that integrates with UgCS Pro and enables the sensors to be directly managed. It is the CPM that enables the user to access the UgCS SkyHub onboard computer.

When a user purchases a sensor system from UgCS, they are also get acess to CPM. During the standard training users are taught how to install, how to operate, and how to get the best from CPM.

The UgCS CPM Interface