The DiVinci Drone

The DiVinci Drone

June 27, 2014

Topcon’s Technology Roadshow came to the IUOE Local 150’s training facility in Wilmington on June 25 and 26. This is where we conduct our Field Tests, so I knew they would have plenty of room for the trailer and for the dirt experience. For those not familiar, the site covers around 300 acres.

I arrived early, so I grabbed some coffee and chatted with the Topcon dealer who was hosting the event. He mentioned the UAV would be launched around noon. UAV? A mapping drone, he said. He took me to the area where the drone would be launched and previewed this new tool soon to be added to the Topcon offering.

The day before, in tests, the drone mapped 52 acres in 26 minutes. The flight path is programmed from a laptop, and it can be adjusted during the mapping process. Data can be downloaded as it’s flying.

The drone looks like a hawk with wings outspread and weighs 1.5 pounds. It’s made of black Styrofoam with yellow plastic strips on the wings and nose.

To launch it, the user shakes it three times, waits for the engine whine, then releases it into the wind. In the air, the birds think it’s a hawk, too, as they were shrieking warnings as it flew over the Local 150 grounds.

The version I saw will not be the version that Topcon will market beginning later this summer. Their version will be more robust and called DiVinci.

The drone demonstrated at the Roadshow was priced at $25,000.