Utility Pylons - Mapping & Inspection with Hammer Missions
Updated: Nov 4, 2022
Hammer Missions is a drone flight planning and 3D mapping software platform designed for the commercial drone industry. We support a large number of mission types on both mobile tablets through Hammer App and web-based environments through Hammer Hub.
Whatever the mission, Hammer Missions can adapt to it and help you capture & process the best possible data.
In this tutorial, we will focus on pylon inspection missions — 1 of the several missions currently supported in Hammer.
Pylon Inspection missions are useful for automating the data capture and analysis for Utility Pylons, also known as Transmission Towers.
In this mission, Hammer calculates a flight path around the Pylon based on the altitudes and distances provided as input by the operator. Hammer ensures that the resulting flight path (when setup correctly) avoids the power lines attached to the Utility Pylon. All images are captured by keeping the correct picture overlap into account so that the resulting photos can be used for a post-processed inspection by uploading the data to Hammer Hub.
Steps to Create
Tap on the add button (+) in the top right corner.
Choose ‘Pylon Inspection’ from the missions view
Select Pylon Inspection in Hammer
3. Fly the drone to the top-centre of the Pylon. Tap the back the right button (c2 button) on the remote controller OR tap the blue drone icon on the map screen. This will generate a mission with default parameters, centred on the drone’s position / Pylon's centre.
Fly to the centre and generate default flight plan.
Steps to Configure
1. To configure the mission, open the mission settings by tapping on the white gear on top of the mission.
2. Use your drone to measure the top altitude / height of the pylon by flying to a point at the same level as the pylon. Tap the little drone icon next to the top altitude setting to fetch the drone’s current altitude and set it as the mission setting.
3. Now repeat the same process in step 2 for bottom altitude, structure radius and flight radius to accurately configure the mission.
Set flight params by using the drone to measure altitudes & distances
Brief description of the available settings:
Camera Type: The attached camera / sensor to the drone.
Top Altitude: Starting altitude for the flight, relative to the takeoff point. The drone will not go higher than this point in the pylon inspection. If you used fly-to-draw feature to create the mission, the top altitude will be set to the altitude of the drone while drawing.
Bottom Altitude: Ending altitude for the flight, with reference to the takeoff point. The drone will not go lower than this point in the mission.
Note: Correct Altitude values can be directly fetched from the drone by flying the drone to the top-most and bottom-most altitude of the pylon and tapping the drone icon next to the altitude setting marked in red in the above image.
Object Radius: Radius (in metres) of the pylon's top ring/circular profile, measured from the chosen centre.
Flight Radius: Horizontal Distance (in metres) of the flight path from the pylon/structure.
PowerLine Angle: Rotation angle of the the generated flight plan to avoid the adjacent powerlines. This parameter should be used to ensure none of the blue points are on top of the powerline.
Image Overlap: Percentage (%) overlap between images to the left/right and top/bottom as the drone flies around the pylon taking images.
Gimbal Pitch: The required pitch/angle of the gimbal while collecting images.
Steps to Simulate
Once you are finished creating and configuring the mission, simply press play button in the right panel.
If no drone is connected, Hammer will prompt you to add a simulator, press OK and choose a home location for the simulation. Then press OK.
The simulation will begin and you’ll see a simulated drone appear on the screen flying the pylon inspection mission.
Steps to Fly
Once you are happy with the created mission, simply connect your drone to Hammer through the USB port on the remote controller.
You’ll see a drone icon appear on the screen at its current location.
Set the GoHome height to be higher than the mission height.
Press Play to start the mission.
Press Pause anytime to pause the mission, and play to resume the mission.
To Take manual control at any point, press Pause > Manual Control
Go Home Height
Since this is a 3D mission, i.e there are altitude shifts in the mission, it very important that you set the GoHome height to be higher than the highest altitude in the mission. This GoHome height is used to resume the mission, as the drone will first climb to this height and then fly towards the mission after a battery change to avoid any obstacles.
To change batteries during a mission: 1. Simply press Pause > GoHome. 2. Once the drone is on the ground, and the battery has been replaced, Press the Play button, then tap Resume. 3. The drone will first climb to the GoHome Height and then fly towards the mission to avoid obstacles.
Uploading Data for Analysis
Once the data has been captured, you can transfer it from the drone's SD card to your laptop and upload it to the Hammer Hub for analysis & reporting.
data credit - flynex.io
And…that’s it! Now you know how to create, simulate and fly your own pylon mapping & inspection missions in Hammer. If you currently do not have access to the iOS app, feel free to contact us through hammermissions.com or download the app through the App store.
If you’d like to learn more about other missions supported in Hammer, please visit our mission tutorials.