Due to the surge in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and small spacecraft (CubeSats and SmallSats) in recent years, there has been a push to develop miniaturized instrumentation to be incorporated on such platforms. A compact hyperspectral imager integrated with these vehicles provides a cost-effective platform for a range of environmental sensing applications that include the monitoring of vegetation, urban development, and lightning. We present the snapshot hyperspectral imaging system (SNAP-IMS), requiring no scanning and capable of integration with a UAV. The collected hyperspectral data cube is 350 × 400 × 55 (x , y , λ) and is acquired within a single camera exposure. The system (288 mm × 150 mm × 160 mm) weighs 3.6 kg (7.9 lb), and its power consumption is marginal as there are no scanning components. Experimental testing included several flights over an area covered by diverse types of vegetation and man-made structures. Data cubes are recorded at a 1/100 s integration time, which mitigated motion-related artifacts. The low size, mass, and power consumption of the imager can enable longer and higher flights at smaller drone sizes and allow easy, portable spectral imaging. Imaging results and the system description are presented and discussed.
Due to the growth of miniature unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and small spacecraft (SmallSats) in recent years, there has been a push for the development of miniaturized spectral imagers to be incorporated with them. An efficient, compact hyperspectral imager integrated with these vehicles provides a cost-effective platform for environmental sensing applications that include the monitoring of agriculture, vegetation, geology, and pollutants. We present here the development and integration of a hyperspectral imaging system called the SNAP-IMS, originally used for biomedical detection, with an Octocopter UAV. The entire collected hyperspectral data cube is 350x400x55 (x,y,λ) spatial/spectral samples. The final system enclosure (288 mm x 150 mm x 160 mm) weighs 3.6 kg (7.9 lbs), offering minimal size and weight. The payload’s power consumption is marginal as there are no mechanical scanning components; the existing power requirements are dedicated exclusively to CCD frame acquisition. Experimental testing included several flights on board the Octocopter UAV, acquiring hyperspectral data cubes at 1/100 second. Snapshot mode and short integration times mitigate motion artifacts. The low size, weight, and power consumption can offer longer and higher flights at smaller drone sizes. These improvements augment the potential for additional instrument incorporation (i.e. LiDAR, Multi-spectral IR) in the future. Imaging results and system description are presented and discussed.