Autonomous UAV-Total Station Measuring System (TFS)

As a result of the project, the Autonomous Measurement System is being developed. Autonomous
Measurement System is self -constructed by integrating the UAV with the Total Station. The integration
was carried out by designing and manufacturing two single-chip microcontrollers, one of which was
installed on an octocopter and the other on Total Station. This connection architecture allowed Total
Station to directly integrate with the Pixhawk autopilot used for UAV control.
A mini prism 360 degrees has been installed on the UAV and is tracked and positioned in real time from
the ground using Total Station. The microcontrollers mounted on the UAV and Total Station have been
programmed in such a way that Total Station has been emulated as an additional GNSS receiver in the
UAV. This enabled control and recording of the UAV flight with Total Station in the local coordinate
system, as well as the ability to perform missions without GPS (GNSS) connectivity. This provides UAV
positioning accuracy of ±0.005 m, a tenfold increase in accuracy compared to current GNSS positioning
solutions with RTK corrections. The Autonomous Measurement System is testing in engineering
geodesy applications, where its usefulness for determining displacements of steel structures (bridges)
has been tested, off-shore industry, where the ship has been dimensioned without the use of control
points (GCP), and geology (coastal cliffs), where the system’s usefulness for testing active landslides
has been tested. The transformation of the coordinates was performed using the own Total Free Station
and Multi-Centroid Transformation algorithms described in SENSORS (Stępień, 2018). The results were
compared with the currently used close-range photogrammetry techniques. It was found that the
accuracy of the Autonomous Measurement System is two to three times higher than the currently used
solutions based on the integration of geodetic ground surveying with the use of Total Station and UAV using GNSS RTK positioning.


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