RESEPI Hesai XT-32 Drone LiDAR Workflow

In this article we will demonstrate the streamlined workflow of Inertial Labs' drone LiDAR systems. The equipment used consists of the Reach RS2+, the DJI Matrice 300, and the RESEPI XT-32 LiDAR. The upgraded flagship drone platform, the DJI Matrice 350 RTK, is also compatible with the RESEPI LiDAR.

Drone Setup: We installed reinforced dampeners to the XT-32 prior to this mission. It does not matter where you mount the antenna on the drone, since the software will calculate the offset later. We made sure to route our antenna cable around our drone to avoid interference with the sensors or props. We installed our USB drive to record the data.  

Calibration: Before we fly our mission, we have to run convergence procedures to calibrate the LiDAR. We begin with the static alignment of the RESEPI which needs 30 seconds before it takes off. You will need to get the RESEPI in the air and flying straight for 5 seconds at or above 5 m/s; it needs to complete a figure 8 before you execute your mission. You can fly the figure 8 manually or set a way point mission. We did the latter, setting a way point mission in the shape of an hourglass, that has the aircraft set to curve through the points to achieve the figure 8.  

After we completed the figure 8, without landing, we ran our mapping mission. Once the mission is complete, we will need our final 30 second static alignment before we shut down the RESEPI, and then the drone.  

Processing: We removed the USB from the payload and took it to our PC for processing. We downloaded our base station data and moved it to our LiDAR data folder. We renamed the file to ‘BaseFile’ so PCMaster will automatically add it to process our flight trajectory. We launched PCMaster from within our mission folder by double clicking ‘ppk’. PCMaster began processing and confirming the antenna offset as well as the location of our base for the mission. PCMaster then processed the flight trajectory and in turn, the point cloud. The initial results use data from the entire flight; we cleaned that up by selecting LiDAR Tools > Paths > Remove Selected Path. To only highlight the mission’s flight path, we right clicked at the start of the mission flight and selected Start Selection Here. We then right clicked at the end of the flight path and selected End Selection Here. We exported the flight path as an LAS file with and without colorization. In post-processing our point clouds are finished.  

In this abridged mission, we’ve seen how streamlined Inertial Labs has made this process. Our purpose was to demonstrate a typical workflow for Inertial Lab’s RESEPI LiDAR systems. Check out our case study to see the accuracy we achieved in this mission: the Emlid Reach RS2+ was used as a base station while the DJI M300 RTK carried the XT32.