On-board cameras that can capture high-resolution video and still images are ubiquitous in the commercial sUAS market. Multi-view stereo provides an approach that extracts dense 3D points for a scene, creating an appealing solution that requires no additional hardware for most sUAS. Recent advances in multi-view stereo approach real-time processing rates, and provide excellent stability. Also, commercial LIDAR prices have dropped dramatically in recent years, along with the size, weight, and power (SWaP) of these devices. However, typical applications of airborne LIDAR require a highly tuned motion measurement suite. We examine the processing and performance trade-offs associated with each of these approaches in the context of rapid airfield damage assessment. We examine flight time, minimum object size, processing time, SWaP, and detection and false alarm rates over a test area of approximately 35,000 square meters.
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Ben Purman, Chris Kawatsu, Aaron Zhao, Andy Gillies, Mike Jeffers, Paul Sheridan, "Real-time inspection of 3D features using sUAS with low-cost sensor suites," Proc. SPIE 10640, Unmanned Systems Technology XX, 106400M (3 May 2018);