Maynooth University and ROBIN: The Sky’s the Limit

Harriet Brewitt

Founded by the Universities Act of 1997, Maynooth University is the youngest and fastest growing university in Ireland. Amongst their many feats, they are also the latest customers to acquire a ROBIN Mobile Mapping System! ROBIN will be helping students and academics in their well-established computer science department conduct research into future developments like self-driving cars and computer applications. ROBIN was provided with two airborne mounts to help researchers with marine, search and rescue applications as well as city modelling, all with a key emphasis on safety and automation.

Application Engineer Ivona Hubova was in Ireland to provide the team with training and support the installation, here’s what she found out!

How were you involved with the Maynooth Project?

I was assigned to deliver ROBIN to the university, assist with the installation and provide LiDAR capture and processing training to the team in the Computer Science department led by Dr Tim McCarthy. As part of the installation and system demonstration we captured the North Campus of the university using ROBIN’s vehicle mount.

During my visit, the university was organising and hosting a Drone Information Day, introducing leading innovation companies in Ireland to talk about the use of UAVs in different industries. This was followed by a UAV demo where several DJI UAVs with thermal and RGB sensors were flown. DJI’s latest platform the ‘Wind 4’, also dropped a package from the air as part of the UAV parcel delivery demonstration. This is the first unit of its kind in Ireland and is the same UAV used with ROBIN.

What projects are Maynooth using the system for?

UAV and airborne LiDAR allow users to map large areas. The university’s applications range from urban mapping, agriculture, forestry, to environmental and coastal monitoring, however the multirotor UAV platform could allow for more localised projects to be mapped such as golf course mapping or harbour monitoring. ROBIN is used with DJI Wind 4 UAV and Cessna 172 Cutlass RG light aircraft for which a special multi-sensor pod has been developed (pictured right).

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Who will be operating the ROBIN system?

Dr Tim McCarthy is Principal Investigator for U-Flyte and CASPER  projects  – both funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). U-Flyte project is focused on researching novel unmanned air traffic control systems (UTM) for beyond line of sight (BLOS) drone operations and downstream applications.  CASPER (Compact Airborne Sensor Pod for Environmental Reconnaissance) is a research infrastructure project comprising airborne pods and sensor cluster for aircraft and drone platforms. MU Research staff associated with these projects include Dr Stephanie Keogh, Developer/PhD candidate Daire Walsh and GeoData Manager/PhD candidate Aidan Magee. MU has contracted out all aerial and Drone survey operations to GeoAerospace led by Sean Mannion and Fearghus Foyle. The aircraft and drone pod systems were constructed by GeoAerospace.

What is your background?

I work as an Application Engineer for GeoSLAM. I complete installations for mobile mapping customers around the world as well as providing training and support. The merger between GeoSLAM and 3D Laser Mapping has brought many exciting new opportunities and innovative technologies to the company that I believe will create new ways of capturing the world in 3D.

For more information about Maynooth University, specifically their computer science department follow this link.

CASPER (Compact Airborne Sensor Pod for Environmental Reconnaissance) 16/RI/3705 is funded under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Infrastructure programme

U-Flyte (Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Research) 17/SPP/3460 is funded under the Science Foundation Ireland Strategic Partnership Programme

With thanks to Science Foundation Ireland for supporting this project.

  • Ivona Hubova

    Ivona is an Application Engineer at GeoSLAM, specialising in mobile and airborne mapping installations. She can often be found in the field training and supporting customers around the world with their LiDAR solutions. Connect with Ivona on LinkedIn.