Aerial remote sensing has been around for some time, as have the visible, infrared, multispectral, and hyperspectral imaging sensors deployed on airborne platforms. Placing these sensors on a remotely piloted vehicle, automating some decision-making functions, and processing the data obtained via cloud computing are some of the factors contributing to the new market and value network that unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imaging provides. Expensive, crewed airborne overflights and satellite images obtained between long revisit times are being steadily overtaken by cheaper, faster, and more-autonomous UAV imaging solutions.
This development, in turn, gives rise to two significant trends: the application of UAV imaging to new areas and the expedited development of new technologies to serve the quicker–cheaper–“smarter” UAV imaging system market. This book is chiefly concerned with the technical principles underlying UAV imagers rather than the applications they serve. Table 1.1, which mentions some of those applications, helps define the broad range of disciplines that benefit from the proliferation of UAV imaging sensor systems.
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