We get lots of questions around drone LiDAR cost so we thought we’d take some time to answer two of the most common ones. Read on to learn more about why LiDAR systems are so expensive generally, and we explain how we came to make a super functional yet affordable solution for our clients.
The Origins of Affordable Drone Lidar Technology
Let’s start with how we came to make the system.
Nextcore started as a UAV company in 2012. At the time the technology for UAV was very expensive and fairly primitive. The UAVs were prone to crashing, or just flying off into the distance. The operation of them required a highly skilled operator. In order to create 3D models, photogrammetry was the go-to choice for drones.
As a company, we got pretty good (actually very good) at using photogrammetry for 3D models of infrastructure. We picked up extensive amounts of work that required a high level of skill to create, and the team grew. Despite the company’s skill set we always had one major problem. Whenever vegetation got in the way there was no way to model what was going on underneath, or behind it. We knew we needed LiDAR…
Then we realised we had created and affordable drone LiDAR, that was easy to use
We started looking for a system suitable for our needs. Like most people are, we were staggered when we realised the price for even a basic system was going to be in excess of $100,000 US. We were forced to find another alternative, and that was to build our own.
Creating our own product was a process that took much longer than we expected, but in the end we made a system that could produce the results of a much more expensive unit at a much lower price. What we didn’t realise at the time was how much simpler our system was to use than others on the market (but that’s a whole other story).
3 reasons why our Drone Lidar prices are low
While building a simpler, better product that was an inadvertent benefit, we knew our Drone LiDAR’s cost was better than the competition for 3 reasons:
- Designed for us first: It seems strange to highlight this as an advantage of our product, but it really is. The first reason that our system is less expensive is that we built our unit with pricing in mind, because we needed an affordable solution.
- Dedicated Software: Most systems on the market require third party software which comes at added expense. Sometimes multiple software packages are required in order to get to the end results. When we built our system we wrote the software from the ground up to make it easy to use and also less expensive. We include our Nextcore Fusion cloud based mapping software in the hardware package so customers don’t need to factor in additional expenditure.
- Affordable Componentry: The final reason really comes down to components. Because we’ve written our own software we aren’t limited by components that go into the system. In many cases, if you wish to use certain software packages you can really only attach certain LiDAR units to certain Inertial Navigation Systems. So we selected and tested our components very carefully to make sure they met our accuracy and pricing requirements. What we were left with was a system that was performing at the standard we needed, at a much lower cost than the other units.
To sum up, Nextcore’s drone LiDAR costs are cheaper not because we’ve cut corners or it performs at a lower standard, but because it’s been designed fit for purpose. If anything, our system performs well above far more expensive systems and it’s backed by an industry-leading support service. The components are all of a super high standard that are made in Australia or the USA.
Book a Demo of Nextcore’s RN Series drone lidar and discover how our affordable drone technology will change how you perform surveying.
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