In a technology research project Autodesk employee Gonzalo Martinez Director of Strategic Research in the office of the CTO has built and modified an Octo-Copter UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) to capture both video and photos to generate a 3D model using 123D Catch. The eight bladed copter craft is 100% autonomous based on a programmed GPS route or if you are skilled you can run in manual mode. The craft can reach an astounding altitude of 1000 meters and can carry a payload such as cameras.
In this video you will see the 3D model of Autodesk Headquarters 111 McInnis Parkway in San Rafael California generated automatically from the photos using the free 123D Catch.You will then see the video of the craft flying around the Autodesk office and how smooth the flight was. The captured video is from a GOPro Hero 2 camera and the still images are captured using a Canon SLR camera triggered remotely.
For those unable to view videos on YouTube here is a download version:
Download MikroKopter Cinestar 8 at Autodesk HQ and 123D Catch.mp4
When you think about the “friendly & legal” possibilities of an autonomous UAV able to capture 3D models and photos and videos from the air there are many. Imagine an archeologist or paleontologist documenting a dig site, a contractor monitoring a construction site, someone needing a model of existing structures for rapid energy modeling or development planning etc. There are so many uses beside the obvious beach flight I know some of you might be thinking of.
I am hoping to join Gonzalo on a test flight in 2 weeks weather and schedule permitting.