Teledyne FLIR: How Horus’ Street-Level Imaging System Works

By Matt Williams -

Horus has disrupted the mobile mapping industry by using imagery data instead of conventional lidar surveying technology for mobile mapping in order to gain more detailed visual images of the assets being inspected.

Horus is working with Teledyne FLIR Integrated Imaging Solutions (IIS), part of Teledyne’s Vision Solutions group, and a leader in the design, manufacture, and deployment of digital imaging components for machine vision. Teledyne IIS is empowering the automotive community to create the next generation of safer, more efficient advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicle (AV) systems using cost-effective thermal cameras.

Horus integrated the Teledyne FLIR IIS’ high-resolution 360-degree Ladybug6 camera into its CityMapper mobile mapping solution in a matter of days. Previously, they used the Ladybug5 model camera. They added HORISON real-time anonymization software, which blurs faces and license plates to ensure resulting data is compliant with privacy regulations such as GDPR, LGPD, PDPB and CCPA . Customers can choose to enhance the basic CityMapper including the Ladybug6, with thermal cameras or even higher-resolution cameras when required.

Horus chose to integrate the Teledyne FLIR IIS Ladybug6 into CityMapper because it gives users unmatched precision trigger control and resolution in a field-proven format for applications that require high-accuracy imaging like high-definition mapping, road surveying, and asset inspection. The Ladybug6 is the leading high-resolution camera designed to capture 360-degree spherical images from moving platforms in all weather conditions.

Another reason Horus chose the Ladybug6 camera is that it delivers the industry’s highest accuracy and image quality because of its calibration combined with global shutter CMOS sensors and high-end optics.  The camera is able to capture outstanding images across a wide range of lighting conditions with an excellent color response, low noise, and a high dynamic range.

The camera captures, compresses, and transmits 8-bit or 12-bit pixel data with onboard image processing for optimized workflows. The Teledyne FLIR IIS feature-rich Ladybug Software Development Kit (SDK) enables image acquisition, spherical and panoramic image production, and fine-grain control of pre- and post-acquisition camera settings via a user-friendly interface.

Designed for industrial applications in harsh environments, the Ladybug6 is built for the outdoors, with an IP67 rating, industrial-grade connectors, and a wide operating temperature range (-30° C to 50° C).

Novotecni’s Serra comments, “Consequently, this has led to an increase in the number of kilometers of coverage per day, resulting in fewer days required to finish projects, leading to substantial cost savings, while simultaneously requiring less fuel, thereby reducing our environmental impact.”

When mapping roadways for inspection and maintenance, capturing data is just the beginning. The challenge is to securely store, manage and use the data gathered in a timely way. Transforming the data into actionable information is the real end game, and Horus’ GeoSuite mapping software and automated mapping enable customers to make the most of their mobile mapping information.

Imagery-based Mobile Mapping as compared to Lidar

Horus has chosen to base its solutions on imagery, rather than other mobile mapping techniques, such as lidar. Horus’ CityMapper is an imagery-driven mobile mapping solution to capture imagery data at speed and is very cost-effective compared to lidar-only systems.

Lidar technology – an acronym of “light detection and ranging” is a special combination of 3D scanning and laser scanning and is commonly used to make high-resolution maps, but the output is a 3D representation, not actual imagery.

Horus chose to use imagery data because it gives you the needed visual details of the asset’s condition. In certain cases, lidar can be “overkill,” with needlessly higher requirements in terms of pricing, accuracy, and data volume. As the market for imagery-driven mobile mapping solutions is maturing, it is an ideal solution for inspections, inventories, and calculations.

Today’s spherical, thermal, and high-resolution imagery data can now deliver an unparalleled visual level of detail for asset inspection. Mobile mapping systems integrators need to enhance their current product ranges or even the need to build new imagery systems – Horus has done just this with its CityMapper solution, enabling its customers to capture, view, and explore street-level imagery.

Innovation Built on Partnership

Not only does Horus incorporate Teledyne FLIR technology in its own products, Horus has also helped FLIR with its own solutions. Launching its next-generation thermal vision Automotive Development Kit for the development of self-driving cars at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, FLIR needed a real-life demo how thermal cameras can improve the safety of advanced driver-assistance systems. Horus helped synchronize multiple the high-resolution FLIR Boson thermal camera with the response times need for an automatic emergency braking system. The Horus Framework made a performant system ready to show in 15 minutes of configuration instead of 3 months of development!

Today Horus software solutions including the Horus Framework are also being used by companies like NVIDIA, Trimble, and Leica, pointing the way towards deeper partnerships and bigger innovations.

Learn about Horus’ use of video-based mobile mapping here.

Written by Mike Lee, Senior Product Manager at FLIR IIS

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