SAE WCX 2019 – Image Based Scanning Techniques for Mapping Accident Sites

Title:  An Optimization of Small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) Image Based Scanning Techniques for Mapping Accident Sites

Authors: Neal Carter, Alireza Hashemian, and Nathan Mckelvey

Published by: SAE International 


Small unmanned aerial systems have gained prominence in their use as tools for mapping the 3-dimensional characteristics of accident sites. Typically, the process of mapping an accident site involves taking a series of overlapping, high resolution photographs of the site, and using photogrammetric software to create a point cloud or mesh of the site. This process, known as image-based scanning, is explored and analyzed in this paper. A mock accident site was created that included a stopped vehicle, a bicycle, and a ladder. These objects represent items commonly found at accident sites. The accident site was then documented with several different unmanned aerial vehicles at differing altitudes, with differing flight patterns, and with different flight control software. The photographs taken with the unmanned aerial vehicles were then processed with photogrammetry software using different methods to scale and align the point clouds. The point cloud data produced with different vehicle / flight pattern / altitude combinations was then quantitatively compared to terrestrial LiDAR scan data. The results are presented here, as well as recommendations based on equipment and desired output.

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