UgCS SkyHub & True Terrain Following (TTF)

The 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 drone-based geophysical sensor system. Watch a video on setting up SkyHub and TTF on an M300RTK, here.

The UgCS Sensor System

The role of SkyHub:

  • To collect and store data acquired by an onboard sensor
  • 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

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.

True Terrain Following (TTF)

Using the 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.

Nomad Radar for Enabling TTF

True Terrain Following (TTF)

Compatible Survey & Inspection Sensors

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

  • True Terrain Following (TTF) kit
  • Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) kit (includes TTF kit)
  • Gas Detector kit (with or without TTF kit)
  • Echosounder 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

(R3, R4 and MagArrow), are stored within the respective magnetometers recorders. Despite this, UgCS have a number of extra options that links SkyHub to the sensors providing some innovative shortcuts both for data and power. The four kits noted above, include the SkyHub computer, cables, and related software. One may extend the capabiltiies of the SkyHub by adding custom payloads. To do this, use SkyHub SDK, find more details here: SkyHub SDK

Useful Specifications and Features

The 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 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.

Example: M300 RTK Connections

SkyHub Connections

Custom Payload Monitor (CPM)

There are three items of software that users need to operate a UgCS drone sensor system. 1. UgCS Pro, 2. The companion app, and 3. The Custom Payload Monitor (CPM). The CPM is the 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 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 CPM Interface

As seen above, the CPM interface is showing configuration for a 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 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

For detailed information on the SkyHub, TTF, CPM, and the supported geophysical kits, please download the SkyHub Manual here. Please feel free to get in touch to orgainise a meeting to discuss UgCS Integrated Systems and the options available for your business.