How it works

Luftronix Fused Flow™ is patented technology - patent number US10527423B1 was granted and published on January 7, 2020.

Luftronix autonomous navigation systems and related scan technology can scan large 3D objects without the need for external guidance from GPS or other external location services. The technology works indoors and outdoors, and it is able to guarantee coverage of the inspected object, including a resolution guarantee based on the locked-in Ground Sampling Distance (GSD).

  • Most commercial aircraft can be scanned under 45 minutes.

  • An onshore oil drilling rig takes less than one day to scan.

  • Off-shore rigs, wind turbines and pipe racks to be determined.

Data collected during an inspection are within specifications for regulatory compliance.

Fused Flow™

Luftronix Fused Flow™ uses optical input as its primary source of navigation and is an improvement over a well-known algorithm known as Optical Flow. It achieves its superior precision by measuring the displacement of patterns found naturally in the environment (or specifically placed into the scan area) and by calibrating these measurements with the help of auxiliary input sources. Fused Flow relies on a high frame rate (60Hz) paired with highly efficient position computation algorithms to achieve real-time location information, which is essential for navigating safely in full autonomous mode.

Optical Flow is based on James Gibson’s observation of how humans and animals interpret relative motion as they travel through the world. It has been extended into a mathematical framework for interpreting discrete image displacements and the algorithms were analyzed by Barron, Fleet and Beauchemin in 1994. Today it is considered a known method to utilize electro-optical input sources to determine the rate of displacement over time. By itself, Optical Flow suffers from larger than acceptable error accumulation and is therefore only useful for short sections of a mission.

Luftronix has complemented the strategy of using displacement information by augmenting it with additional sources of input for a FusedFlow™ model of displacement. This model allows for additional relevant factors, such as the angle of the camera to the surface, elevation, heading, and possible temporary view obstruction to a complete model of motion. This results in a more precise optical flow algorithm that is still able to operate in real time. Luftronix FusedFlow™ uses a sample consensus method to implement a robust algorithm that compares markers in two subsequently taken images and determines the size of the vector of movement between the two samples of the surface, after taking into consideration factors like altitude, angle and rotation – all of which may have changed between the two samples.

Location information is used to annotate data collected during flights: Every image or other data point receives an automatic annotation with the exact position where it was captured. Using this technique, a typical scan of a commercial aircraft will be completed in under one hour.