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The senseFly eBee
Perfect for mapping applications, the fixed-wing senseFly eBee X offers a superior alternative to quadcopters, when it comes to mapping. It has a camera option for every job, and can improve the quality, efficiency and safety of your data acquisition missions. With great coverage and accuracy, it is designed to meet or exceed any project’s requirements, and is able to work on virtually any site. Parrot-owned senseFly is the producer of the eBee X, and is only fitting, as Parrot is an industry leader in drone mapping solutions, as well as agriculture applications. Marketed as “the fixed-wing drone for all your mapping needs”, the eBee X is ideal for applications ranging from agriculture to surveying to construction to mining. The eBee X is compatible with a number of cameras and sensors available from senseFly and other manufacturers, making it extremely adaptable for a variety of specialized applications.
eBee X vs. Bluegrass
Often compared are the eBee X and the Bluegrass (also from Parrot). The Bluegrass is a multirotor, “end-to-end drone solution for efficient crop assessment,” essentially just for agriculture, while the eBee X is much more versatile in application. The eBee X is smaller and lighter, weighing just 2.2 and 3lbs (depending on payload), compared the heavier Bluegrass at 4lbs. This also means that the eBee has a longer max flight time, able to stay in the air up to 90 minutes, and can cover vast amounts of territory - up to 500 ha (1,235 ac) at 400 ft. The wings of the eBee X are removable for ease of transport, is hand-launched, and automatic landing. Unlike with the Bluegrass and other similar multirotor solutions, the eBee X has no controller, and flight plans are pre-programmed by the user before flights are executed. It is equipped with eMotion, a powerful, yet user-friendly flight planning software program that allows you to select your flight path, and plan your mission with other assistance features and mission planning tools. After the flight mission is completed, the eBee X will automatically land on the pre-specified landing site.
One of the most standout features of the eBee X is the versatility of application. This is made possible with the camera options compatible with the drone. The Bluegrass and many other agriculture-specific drones come equipped with one fixed camera option. The eBee X, on the other hand, does not come equipped with any one standard camera, but can be used with any of six or more camera/sensor options from senseFly and/or Parrot. Each of these cameras has a unique application, and is ideally suited for a specific industry use.
senseFly S.O.D.A. - This was the first camera designed specifically for professional photogrammetry by drone, and has quickly become the industry standard. It boasts an ability to capture amazingly sharp aerial images in most light conditions, and these images can then be used to produce vivid, detailed orthomosaics and ultra-accurate 3D digital surface models.
senseFly S.O.D.A. 3D - This camera takes the abilities of the S.O.D.A. to the next level by being able to change orientation during flight, allowing it to capture three images (2 oblique, 1 nadir), encompassing a much wider field of view. The S.O.D.A. 3D is compatible with the Pix4Dmapper, for top quality, efficient image processing.
senseFly Aria X - This compact drone photogrammetry camera is rugged and durable, and offers the perfect blend of size, weight and DSLR-like image quality. The stunning image detail and clarity are achieved in almost all light conditions, allowing you to continue mapping more hours per day than before.
senseFly Duet T - This is a dual camera thermal sensor housed in one casing. It is ideal for quickly and easily creating geo-accurate thermal maps that mesh perfectly with digital surface models.
Parrot Sequoia+ - This camera is specifically designed for agricultural applications, and is the smallest, lightest multispectral sensor available. In just a single flight, it can capture images in four defined, visible and non-visible spectral bands, as well as RGB images.
RedEdge-MX - This multispectral camera from MicaSense is rugged and precise, a high-performance tool designed for advanced agricultural analysis. It captures the spectral bands required to assess crop health (green, red, red edge and near-infrared), as well a blue band to deliver insights into other specific issues, and also collects composite RGB imagery.
senseFly Corridor - This camera is ideal for mapping linear infrastructure or sites (such as powerlines). A combination of senseFly S.O.D.A. and eMotion software, the camera is situated in portrait position, which means that it requires 30% fewer images to complete a map of the same linear route. This makes the image collecting, as well as the data processing, faster and more efficient, to give you a finished map in less time.
The eBee X comes with access to eMotion, senseFly’s powerhouse flight management program. Easy to use, yet with all the powerful tools you need to plan advanced missions, it will help you quickly and easily get the geospatial data you need. Necessary for planning the fixed-wing drone’s missions, eMotion includes intuitive and user friendly mission planning blocks and flight modes for any and every application.
To plan a flight mission, begin by selecting the block you need (aerial mapping, corridor, etc.), and highlight the region you want to map, and define a few key settings. eMotion software does the rest, and automatically generates your flight plan. You can simulate your flight before taking off, by entering wind strength and direction, to optimize your flight plan. When you’re ready with your flight plan, just upload it wirelessly to your drone, hand launch, and the eBee X flies, captures images, and lands by itself. The built in Flight Data Manager from eMotion automatically prepares images and handles georeferencing for software such as Pix4Dmapper, streamlining the process and getting you a map in hand in no time at all.
The full 3D environment from eMotion helps you with accurate planning and simulation, and control your drone’s trajectory to achieve safer flights and deliver more consistent performance and better data quality. And with its ability to constantly connect to your drone, industry cloud solutions, survey-grade base stations, airspace data and even weather updates, your workflow is as smooth and seamless as possible.