Autel Robotics RTK Module 102000619

Autel Robotics RTK Module

The Autel EVO 2 RTK module provides real-time centimeter-level positioning data and supports Post-Processing Kinematic (PPK). The aircraft can record the original satellite observation data, camera exposure parameters and various other data. The positioning system supports A-RTK base station and RTK network, which helps to achieve accurate and stable data acquisition in complex operation environments.

  • Centimeter level accuracy
  • Real time RTK measurement

In the box:

  • 1x Autel Robotics RTK Module

Autel Evo II Pro 6K RTK / 640T RTK Rugged Bundle V3 (102001519 / 102001517)

Autel Evo II Pro 6K / 640T RTK Rugged Bundle V3

Your choice, the 6K Ultra HD model or the 640T high-resolution thermal imaging camera.  Unrivaled Accuracy And Control

Centimeter-Level Positioning

The EVO II RTK Series V3 integrates an entirely new RTK module for 2022, which provides real-time centimeter-level positioning data in three minutes and supports Post-Processing Kinematic (PPK). The aircraft can record the original satellite observation data, camera exposure parameters and more. The positioning system supports RTK base station and NTRIP RTK network, which helps to achieve accurate and stable data acquisition in complex operation environments.
  • RTK Horizontal Positioning Accuracy: 1cm+1ppm
  • RTK Vertical Positioning Accuracy: 1.5cm+1ppm

No GCP Required

EVO II RTK Series V3 connects to NTRIP network and does not need GCPs to provide centimeter grade accuracy.

3rd Party Base Station Support

EVO II RTK Series V3 supports all NTRIP compatible base stations.

Autel Explorer for Mapping

Multi-NTRIP Profile Saving

For repeatable data acquisition missions, you can record the drone’s previous shooting positions. All the gimbals, camera, and aircraft movements will be replicated, thus producing a full record of the entire mission.

Photo Replication

The EVO II RTK Series V3 returns to where it left off in multi-battery missions without starting from the beginning.

Multi-Battery Missions

The Explorer App allows the user to create and save multiple NTRIP profiles for different locations without having to manually input account info every travel.

38mins – Maximum Flight Time | 12km – (7.45miles) Maximum Transmission Range | 20m/s – (45mph) Max Flight Speed

12m/s – 27mph)Maximum Wind Resistance | IP43 Resistance


The EVO II Dual 640T RTK V3 is equipped with a high-resolution thermal imaging camera and an all new Sony .8″ 50 megapixel RYYB sensor.  The sensor features an industry leading 640*512 high-definition thermal imaging resolution of 30hz.  The EVO II Dual 640T RTK V3 can accurately detect heat sources within a distance of 2-20 meters. By leveraging the compensation algorithm of infrared temperature measurement, the 640T RTK can regulate temperature deviations within 3 degrees Celsius.

New Image Processing Algorithm

The V3 system uses a brand new image processing algorithm, making thermal imaging details sharper and more discernible than competition with the similar resolution and hardware.

30hz Refresh Rate for Videogrammetry

The EVO II RTK Dual V3 provides high refresh rates for accurate and detailed 3D thermal maps.

360° Obstacle Avoidance

Equipped with 19 groups of sensors including 12 visual sensors,the main camera, ultrasound, IMUs and other sensors enable building of three-dimensional maps and path planning in real time.


Quick Specifications

  • 6K Ultra HD
  • 1-inch CMOS Sensor
  • 360° Obstacle Avoidance
  • F2.8~F11 Adjustable Aperture
  • No no-fly zones
  • 38-min Flight Time
  • 9.3 miles Max Transmission Range

In the Box

  • 1x Aircraft – You choice 6K RTK or 640T RTK (including battery, propellers, RTK Module, and gimbal cover)
  • 1x Autel Robotics V3 7.9″ Smart Controller (with controller case)
  • 2x Spare Propellers (pair)
  • 1xSmart Controller USB-C Charging Cable & Power Brick
  • 1x Battery Charger (Wall Cord and Power Converter)
  • 2x Spare Battery
  • 1x set Spare Controller Sticks
  • 1x 32 GB SD Card
  • 1x Smart Controller Hanging Neck Strap
  • 1x RTK Module Attachment Port Cover
  • 1x Evo II Battery Car Charger
  • 1x Evo II Battery Multicharger



Autel Evo II 640T Enterprise Bundle V3 (102001516)

Autel Evo II Pro 6K Enterprise Bundle V3 (102001515)

Power/  Efficiency.  Reliability

640×512 25Hz New Thermal Imaging Sensor

Equipped with a 640 x 512 high-resolution thermal imaging camera featuring a 13mm focal length lens and 16x digital zoom, it is easier than ever to observe distant targets. The system uses a new image processing algorithm, making thermal details clearer and more discernible than other options with similar resolution and hardware.

Multiple Temperature Measurement Modes

Central, Spot, And Regional Temperature Measurement

Central temperature measurement: View real-time display of the temperature in the center area of the screen.  Spot temperature measurement: Tap the screen, and the temperature of the selected object will be displayed in real time.  Regional temperature measurement: Get a dynamic view of the average temperature, maximum temperature, and minimum temperature displayed in a selected area.

10 Thermal Color Palettes

White Hot | Cold and Hot | Rainbow | Enhanced Rainbow | Ironbow | Lava | Arctic | Searing | Gradation |Heat Detection

Picture-in-Picture Display Mode

Visual and thermal imagery are combined to help users quickly interpret data and aid in critical decision making.

Temperature Alarm With Isotherm And Image Enhancement

Temperature alarm: Monitors the screen temperature in real time. The system prompts the user when the temperature reaches a set threshold.  Isotherm: Set a temperature range and the system will detect any objects within the temperature range specified.  Image enhancement: Supports real-time adjustment of image brightness, contrast, and image details. The system will highlight any objects within the temperature target.

Powerful Infrared Thermal Analysis Tool

IRPC TOOL: This free temperature measurement analysis tool is developed specifically for the 640T, and enables users to quickly import images, edit and analyze temperature measurements, and generate detailed reports for sharing and collaboration.

Get The Full Scene
The system supports 16x digital zoom and 4x lossless zoom, providing long-distance image acquisition and detailed insight into scenes safely.

4K HDR For Greater Dynamic Range
4K HDR automatically balances overexposure and underexposure when shooting scenes with too much contrast, producing clearer images with more layers.

Autel Smart Controller V3

Smart Controller V3’s 7.9-inch, 2000 nit high-brightness screen is clearly visible even under direct sunlight. SkyLink 2.0 Transmission technology guarantees long-distance operations from up to 9 miles away and enhances anti-interference abilities with triple-band frequency hopping. The customized Android system allows for additional flexibility with 3rd party apps and an IP43 rating ensures all weather performance.


  • 7.9-Inch HD Touch Screen
  • -4 °F to 104 °F Temperature Range
  • 2000 nits Maximum Brightness
  • IP43 Resistance



Quick Specifications

  • 360° Obstacle Avoidance
  • No no-fly zones
  • 27mph Max Wind Resistance
  • 38-min Flight Time
  • 9.3 miles Max Transmission Range
  • 45 mph Max Level Flight Speed (Ludicrous)
  • 8Gb Internal Storage

In the Box

  • 1x Aircraft (including battery, propellers and gimbal cover)
  • 1x Autel Robotics V3 7.9″ Smart Controller
  • 2x Spare Propellers (pair)
  • 1x Smart Controller USB-C Charging Cable & Power Brick
  • 1x Battery Charger (Wall Cord and Power Converter)
  • 2x Spare Battery
  • 1x set Spare Controller Sticks
  • 1x 32 GB SD Card
  • 1x Smart Controller Hanging Neck Strap
  • 1x RTK Module Attachment Port Cover
  • 1x Enterprise Speaker Attachment
  • 1x Enterprise Search Light Attachment
  • 1x Enterprise Strobe Light Attachment
  • 1x Evo II Battery Car – Charger
  • 1x Evo II Battery Multicharger



Evo Autel Pro 6K Enterprise

Autel Evo II Pro 6K Enterprise Bundle V3 (102001515)

Autel Evo II Pro 6K Enterprise Bundle V3 (102001515)

Compact, Versatile Powerful

Compact. Versatile. Powerful.

An improved high-quality imaging system, upgraded 9.3 miles image transmission range, and additional modular accessories help you meet a variety of use cases including inspection, search and rescue, situation overwatch, and more.
  • SkyLink 2.0 Transmission
  • 360° Obstacle Avoidance
  • Moonlight Algorithm 2.0
  • Modular Accessories
  • Centimeter-level Positioning with RTK
  • ADS-B Signal Receiver


All New 6K 1″ CMOS

See clearer with Sony’s new 20 megapixel 1 inch CMOS image sensor, the EVO II Pro V3 supports up to 6K video resolution with stronger noise suppression, and higher frame rates.

1-INCH CMOS | 20MP Photo | 6k/30FPS Video | F2.8~F11 Aperture


Excel in Low Light

EVO II Pro V3 brings you Autel’s Moonlight Algorithm 2.0 with additional noise reduction processing. Paired with EVO II Pro V3’s upgraded CMOS, it succeeds in operations with minimal lighting or in harsh lighting situations at night.
*  It’s required to update the latest firmware and app to enjoy comprehensive warranty. More information please refer to warranty policy.
**  Please fly safely and consult your local laws and regulations. Autel Robotics is not liable for any unauthorized flights.

42mins – Maximum Flight Time | 15km – (9.3miles) Maximum Transmission Range | 20m/s – (45mph) Max Flight Speed

12m/s – 27mph)Maximum Wind Resistance | 920g -2lbs)Maximum Lift Capability


Quick Specifications

  • 20MP Photo
  • 1-inch CMOS Sensor
  • 360° Obstacle Avoidance
  • F2.8~F11 Aperture
  • No no-fly zones
  • 42-min Flight Time
  • 9.3 miles Max Transmission Range
  • 45 mph Max Level Flight Speed (Ludicrous)
  • 8Gb Internal Storage

In the Box

  • 1x Aircraft (including battery, propellers and gimbal cover)
  • 1x Autel Robotics V3 7.9″ Smart Controller
  • 2x Spare Propellers (pair)
  • 1x Smart Controller USB-C Charging Cable & Power Brick
  • 1x Battery Charger (Wall Cord and Power Converter)
  • 2x Spare Battery
  • 1x set Spare Controller Sticks
  • 1x 32 GB SD Card
  • 1x Smart Controller Hanging Neck Strap
  • 1x RTK Module Attachment Port Cover
  • 1x Enterprise Speaker Attachment
  • 1x Enterprise Search Light Attachment
  • 1x Enterprise Strobe Light Attachment
  • 1x Evo II Battery Car – Charger
  • 1x Evo II Battery Multicharger





The Autel EVO II Aircraft, coupled with the Emlid RS2 base station are a cost-effective combination for surveyors, construction survey, engineering, etc.

Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) corrections bring significant precision to unmanned aircraft and workflows, even to the point of achieving repeatable precision within 1cm of actual position in a localized dataset.

Adding RTK to an unmanned aircraft enables real-time correctional data to be sent to the aircraft, allowing the aircraft to write corrected information to the metadata captured in the aircraft’s camera/sensor system. This is achieved through the aircraft remote control/ground station controller receiving correctional information from either a network system (NTRIP) or a local base station sending correctional data to the controller. In either case, the corrected positional data is uploaded to the aircraft.

No corrections, no RTK, nearly 10′ from point

One of the greatest challenges/concerns with an RTK aircraft is to ensure the aircraft is receiving corrections throughout the entire flight. Over large areas where there may be pockets of RF interference from powerlines, trees, buildings, or other obstructions, it’s possible to have a few images without RTK corrections, particularly at the edges of the flight area. One remedy is to add a range extender such as the 4Hawks antenna system to the aircraft’s remote.

The 4Hawks Antenna system assists in ensuring RTK corrections are sent to the aircraft throughout the entire mission area.

RTK systems gain slight benefit from the antenna-only system (autonomous positioning) while adding a base station or NTRIP network correctional system.

No corrections, RTK antenna-only. 13″ from actual
With RTK corrections sent to the aircraft, the point and the aircraft projections are 1 cm from the point.

We used a DT Research 301 data collector with a Seco RTK rod and head to verify data from the aircraft’s indicated position, and have since used a Leica GS18i to verify the points.

Jeremy Kippen from the KukerRanken Las Vegas store uses the DTResearch 301 system as a data collector to capture points on the ground, while flying the Autel EVO II RTK aircraft

Incorporating an RTK aircraft into the construction site, survey, engineering project, and many other uses provides a safer, faster, cost-effective means of capturing precise data, no matter the scenario. Topos, DSM, DTM, DEM, orthos, pointclouds, extraction for surfaces, and many other deliverables can become significantly more efficient when proper training and implementation techniques are observed. At KukerRanken, we’re here to help with UAS program development, training from Part 107 to operational techniques, and post-processing best practices.

Contact one of our KukerRanken staff to gain access to datasets demonstrating RTK with drone workflows. We offer Pix4DMapper, Pix4DSurvey, Leica Infinity, Leica 3DR, and many other training programs.

Autel Robotics EVO II DUAL Radiometric Enterprise Bundle 102001241

Autel Robotics EVO II DUAL Radiometric Enterprise Bundle

Save Time & Resources with an Upgraded Airframe & Modular Accessories.

Autel Robotics

The average human inspection is one panel per minute.  The Autel EVO II Enterprise Dual R, however, can inspect more than 4000 PV panels per hour.  The resulting cost reductions and safety improvements for solar inspectors are staggering.

Equipped with a high-resolution thermal camera, the Dual can quickly pinpoint failed or failing panels through hot spots on its display.  This provides repair crews with a precise location, saving time that might otherwise be spent searching for a faulty cell, panel or string.

Built on the back of our popular EVO II, the Enterprise series introduces some exciting new features to the airframe to improve mission performance and versatility.  The introduction of carbon fiber arms, larger motors, and specially designed larger propellers mean:


42 Min Flight Time | 5.5 mi HD Transmission | 256-bit AES Encryption

4x Lossless Zoom / 16x Digital Zoom | ADS-B Receiving | Modular Accessories

FLIR Boson 640×512 30Hz Camera | Optional RTK Module | Mission Planning


For Solar Inspection:

  • Compatible with FLIR Tools© Mobile, enabling users to easily generate reports to streamline their workflow.
  • 8K RGB camera for detailed imaging and documentation for mapping, asset inspection and visual synchronization.
  • Autonomous, grid-capable for rapid, accurate inspection capture and mapping
  • Airborne in under 40 seconds
  • Stream HD live video to stakeholders with Smart Controller
  • Weather and dust resistant for rugged environments
  • Compatible with all software evaluation applications
  • Smart Controller is fully visible under daylight conditions at 2000 Nits.

Mission Ready with Autel Explorer

The Autel Explorer app can store weekly or monthly missions for comparison, failure evaluation and deterioration studies.

Enterprise Accessories

Spotlight Beams a powerful, short range illumination light at 11 lumens for night operations. Adjust the angle of your spotlight for optimal low-light shots and nighttime searches.
Strobe Indicates the location of the aircraft at night or day to prevent air traffic accidents. A necessary requirement for dusk and night flying. Provides visibility of up to 3 miles in the air per FAA regulations.

Loudspeaker Efective one-way communication at a distance of up to 1000 ft. Twice the range of the competition. Achieve more eective on-site communication through long-distance telephony, audio loops, and live broadcasts. create prerecorded messages for easy playback.
RTK (Sold Separately) Get centimeter-accurate positioning data and reduce electromagnetic interference for more accurate aircraft positioning.

Enterprise Smart Controller

Autel Smart Controller
Autel Smart Controller’s built-in display is twice as bright as the next leading competitor and 4
times brighter than a conventional cell phone screen. The 7.9-inch QHD display offers anti-glare coatings and provides clear visibility under direct sunlight

In the Box

  • 1x Aircraft (Including Battery, Gimbal Cover)
  • 2x Spare Battery
  • 1x 7.9″ Smart Controller
  • 1x 110V Battery Charger
  • 1x Smart Controller Charger
  • 1x Smart Controller Charging Cable
  • 1x Speaker
  • 1x Search Light
  • 1x Strobe
  • 1x Chest Strap
  • 1x Attachment Port Cover
  • 1x Spare Propellers (Pair)
  • 1x EVO II Hard Rugged Case
  • Packing List Quick Guide, Disclaimer & Safety Instructions, Battery Safe Use Guide

*Previously 102000542




The Leica AP20 AutoPole – Revolutionizing Total Station Measurements 

Increase productivity and efficiency with Tilt Compensation, which removes the need to level the pole.  Easily overcome on-site obstacles by adjusting the height and tilting the pole to reach a hidden point.  The Leica AP20 AutoPole is truly a game changer.  Enables measurement with a tilted pole.

Tilt Compensation  |  Pole Height  |  Target ID

Autel EVO II Enterprise – Work Like Never Before

Optimize your workflow with our toughest EVO II yet, bulked up with new accessories and camera features to meet the demands of professionals in every industry from firefighting to construction.  With a foldable design that can be deployed in seconds and easy-to-use controls that can be operated with a single hand, the EVO II Enterprise provides a surefire way to increase efficiency without increasing stress.

16x Digital Zoom  |  8-mile HD Transmission  |  Modular Accessories 

Centimeter-level Positioning with RTK ADS-B Receiver  |  360 Obstacle Avoidance 

Leica BLK360 – Reality Capture for All

The BLK360 is a compact imaging laser scanner that uses a 360° laser distance meter and high definition panoramic imaging to create a 3D point cloud of the space around it.  One-button automatic operation. Small enough to take anywhere. Rechargeable lithium ion battery with secure WiFi data transfer. Completes a scan within minutes.  LiDAR technology that captures 360,000 points per second. Three spherical, panoramic HDR cameras with a thermal imaging camera. Delivers 3D point clouds with millimeter accuracy.  Create an accurate digital twin of your site with laser-based measurements.

Simple  |  Powerful  |  Reliable

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KukerRanken Lunch and Learn

Join us Wednesday May 4, 2022 12:00PM – 12:30 PM PDT where Douglas Spotted Eagle and Brady Reisch will host a panel discussion on UAS Best Practices – Including Instant Airspace Authorizations.

About this event

Kuker-Ranken (KR) Lunch & Learn sessions are short webinars designed to help the AEC, GIS, and Public Safety communities and hardware users get up to speed with what’s happening with Technology whether it’s unmanned, software, hardware, techniques, tips, best practices, or what’s new in the industry. At no cost to attendees, we’re grateful to our sponsors, partners, vendors, and customers for being a part of these 15-25 minute webinars.


Ample time at the end of the session is available for any questions that you may have.


In this session, Douglas and Brady will host a discussion with attendees to answer any questions they might have for drone operations. Please feel free to email us with a question you’d like to have answered ( Douglas and Brady will be prepared to discuss getting started with drone technology and will also showcase how to request for instant airspace authorizations with UASideKick. This is an open discussion for all.We look forward to welcoming our Kuker-Ranken and Sundance Media Group friends from across the USA.

Training Programs with KukerRanken using Pix4D_Leica_drones

KukerRanken Training

Brady Reich teaching Pix4D for Construction
We are able to train large or small groups

KukerRanken offers training in Hardware, Software, and application-specific best practices. KR believes an informed customer is more productive. In addition to our 24/7 support phone/text lines, we offer training for individuals or groups, ensuring cost-effective, optimal workflows for any survey or AEC (Archetectural, Engineering, Construction) organization. 
KukerRanken is dedicated to customer service, and without understanding equipment, software, workflows, and best practices, our customers may not be working at optimal efficiency.

Training may take place on-site, online, or at one of our KukerRanken store locations.  Software-based training is typically provided on-line, while we remain flexible and are able to visit company offices, jobsites, or local locations. Our Mountlake Terrace store offers multi-desk classrooms, projector, large screen televisions, and a broad assortment of equipment and specialists to ensure an effective, efficient, and ensured understanding of equipment, related software/hardware/workflows for our customers.


A group of people standing in front of a small drone.
We are an authorized Microdrones trainer for both LiDAR flight and post-processing, as well as their Mapper Photogrammetry product.


  • Robotic Total Stations
  • Data Collectors
  • GPS systems
  • High Definition Scanning
  • DTResearch (RTK/LiDAR tablet
  • Emlid products for UAS


  • Part 107 certification
    • Online
    • In-person
  • Risk Mitigation
  • Flight Training
  • Automated Flight Instruction
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Best-Practices
  • Program Stand-Up


  • Leica Infinity
  • iCON
  • 3DR/Cyclone



  • Mission Planning
  • Pix4D
    • Mapper
    • Survey
    • Matic
  • AirData
  • Autel Explorer
  • Evidence Recorder

KukerRanken is partnered with Sundance Media Group for UAS and Risk Mitigation training. 

We have training available at all stores, with specialty/focused training at our Mountlake Terrace, WA, and Las Vegas, NV locations

A Deep Insider’s Look at a Rugged Terrain Mission to Investigate a Helicopter Crash with Drones

A Deep Insider’s Look at a Rugged Terrain Mission to Investigate a Helicopter Crash with Drones

Crash site investigation with drones has emerged as a leading application for unmanned systems in public safety.  Gathering data that can be used by investigators in a courtroom, however, requires careful mission planning.  Here, sUAS expert and industry figure Douglas Spotted Eagle of  KukerRanken provides a detailed insider’s view of a helicopter crash site investigation.

Unmanned aircraft have become proven assets during investigations, offering not only the ability to reconstruct a scene. When a high ground sampling distance (GSD) is used, the data may be deeply examined, allowing investigators to find evidence that may have not been seen for various reasons during a site walk-through.

Recently, David Martel, Brady Reisch and I were called upon to assist in multiple investigations where debris was scattered over a large area, and investigators could not safely traverse the areas where high speed impacts may have spread evidence over large rocky, uneven areas. In this particular case, a EuroStar 350  aircraft may have experienced a cable wrap around the tail rotor and boom, potentially pulling the tail boom toward the nose of the aircraft, causing a high speed rotation of the hull prior to impact. Debris was spread over a relatively contained area, with some evidence unfound.

crash site investigation with drones

Per the FAA investigators;

“The helicopter was on its right side in mountainous densely forested desert terrain at an elevation of 6,741 ft mean sea level (MSL). The steel long line cable impacted the main rotor blades and was also entangled in the separated tail rotor. The tail rotor with one blade attached was 21 ft. from the main wreckage. Approximately 30 ft. of long line and one tail rotor blade were not located. The vertical stabilizer was 365 ft. from the main wreckage.”

With a missing tail rotor blade and the missing long line, unmanned aircraft were called in to provide a high resolution map of the rugged area/terrain, in hopes of locating the missing parts that may or may not aid in the crash investigation.

The terrain was difficult and unimproved, requiring four-wheel drive vehicles for access into the crash site. Due to rising terrain, we elected to launch/land the aircraft from the highest point relevant to the crash search area, which encompassed a total of approximately 70 acres.

Adding to the difficulty of finding missing parts was that the helicopter was partially covered in grey vinyl wrap, along with red and black vinyl wrap, having recently been wrapped for a trade show where the helicopter was displayed.

drones in crash site investigation

We arrived on scene armed with pre-loaded Google Earth overheads, and an idea of optimal locations to place seven Hoodman GCP discs, which would allow us to capture RTK points for accuracy, and Manual Tie Points once the images were loaded into Pix4D.  We pre-planned the flight for an extremely high ground sampling distance (GSD) average of .4cm per pixel. Due to the mountainous terrain, this GSD would vary from the top to the bottom of the site. We planned to capture the impact location at various GSD for best image evaluation, averaging as tight as .2cmppx. Some of these images would be discarded for the final output, and used only for purposes of investigation.

Although the overall GSD was greater than necessary, the goal is to be able to zoom in very deep on heavily covered areas with the ability to determine the difference between rocks and potential evidence, enabling investigators to view the overall scene via a 3.5 GB GeoTiff in Google Earth, and refer back to the Pix4DMapper project once rendered/assembled.

The same scene minus initial marker points.

Although working directly in Pix4D provides the best in-depth view of each individual photo, the Google Earth overlay/geotiff enables a reasonably deep examination.

Using two of the recently released Autel EVO II Pro aircraft, we planned the missions so that one aircraft would manage North/South corridors while the other captured East/West corridors.  Planning the mission in this manner allows for half the work time, while capturing the entire scene. This is the same method we used to capture the MGM festival grounds following the One October shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. The primary difference is in the overall size, with the Pioche mission being nearly 70 acres, while the Las Vegas festival ground shooting area is under 20 acres in total.

Similar to the Las Vegas shooting scene, shadow distortion/scene corruption was a concern; flying two aircraft beginning at 11:00 a.m. and flying until 1:30 aided in avoiding issues with shadow.

Temporal and spatial offsets were employed to ensure that the EVO II Pro aircraft could not possibly collide, we set off at opposite sides of the area, at different points in time, with a few feet of vertical offset added in for an additional cushion of air between the EVO II. We programmed the missions to fly at a lower speed of 11 mph/16fps to ensure that the high GSD/low altitude images would be crisp and clean. It is possible to fly faster and complete the mission sooner, yet with the 3 hour travel time from Las Vegas to the crash site, we wanted to ensure everything was captured at its best possible resolution with no blur, streak, or otherwise challenged imagery. Overall, each aircraft emptied five batteries, with our batteries set to exchange notification at 30%.

Total mission running time was slightly over 2.5 hours per aircraft, with additional manual flight over the scene of impact requiring another 45 minutes of flight time to capture deep detail. We also captured imagery facing the telecommunications tower at the top of the mountain for line of sight reference, and images facing the last known landing area, again for visual reference to potential lines of sight.

crash site investigation with drones

By launching/landing from the highest point in the area to be mapped, we were able to avoid any signal loss across the heavily wooded area. To ensure VLOS was maintained at all times, FoxFury D3060’s were mounted and in strobing mode for both sets of missions (The FoxFury lighting kit is included with the Autel EVO II Pro and EVO II Dual Rugged Bundle kits).

Once an initial flight to check exposure/camera settings was performed, along with standard controllability checks and other pre-flight tasks, we sent the aircraft on their way.

Capturing over 6000 images, we checked image quality periodically to ensure consistency. Once the missions were complete, we drove to the site of impact to capture obliques of the specific area in order to create a more dense model/map of the actual impact site. We also manually flew a ravine running parallel to the point of impact to determine if any additional debris was found (we did find several small pieces of fuselage, tools assumed to be cast off at impact, and other debris.

The initial pointcloud took approximately 12 hours to render, generating a high-quality, highly dense initial cloud.

crash site investigation with drones

After laying in point controls, marking scale constraints as a check, and re-optimized the project in Pix4D, the second step was rendered to create the dense point cloud. We were stunned at the quality of the dense point cloud, given the large area.

The dense point cloud is ideal for purposes of measuring. Although this sort of site would typically benefit (visually) from texturing/placing the mesh, it was not necessary due to the high number of points and deep detail the combination of Pix4D and Autel EVO II Pro provided. This allowed us to select specific points where we believed points of evidence may be located, bringing up the high resolution images relevant to that area. Investigators were able to deep-dive into the area and locate small parts, none of which were relevant to better understanding the cause of the crash.

“The project generated 38,426,205 2D points and 13,712,897 3D points from a combination of nearly 7,000 images.”

crash site investigation with drones

Using this method of reviewing the site allows investigators to see more deeply, with ability to repeatedly examine areas, identify patterns from an overhead view, and safely search for additional evidence that may not be accessible by vehicle or foot. Literally every inch of the site may be gone over.

crash site investigation with drones

Further, using a variety of computer-aided search tools, investigators may plug in an application to search for specific color parameters. For example, much of the fuselage is red in color, allowing investigators to search for a specific range of red colors. Pieces of fuselage as small as 1” were discovered using this method. Bright white allowed for finding some items, while 0-16 level black allowed for finding other small objects such as stickers, toolbox, and oil cans.

Using a tool such as the DTResearch 301 to capture the RTK geolocation information, we also use the DTResearch ruggedized tablet as a localized pointcloud scan which may be tied into the Pix4Dmapper application. Capturing local scan data from a terrestrial perspective with GCP’s in the image allow for extremely deep detail in small environments. This is particularly valuable for construction sites or interior scans, along with uses for OIS, etc.

Primary Considerations When Capturing a Scene Twin

  • GSD.​ This is critical. There is a balance between altitude and propwash, with all necessary safety considerations.
    Vertical surfaces. In the event of an OIS where walls have been impacted, the ability to fly vertical surfaces and capture them with a consistent GSD will go a long way to creating a proper model. Shadow distortion.​ If the scene is very large, time will naturally fly by and so will the sun. In some conditions, it’s difficult to know the difference between burn marks and shadows. A bit of experience and experimentation will help manage this challenge.
  • Exposure.​ Checking exposure prior to the mission is very important, particularly if an application like Pix4Dreact isn’t available for rapid mapping to check the data on-site.
    Angle of sun/time of day​. Of course, accidents, incidents, crime, and other scenes happen when they happen. However, if the scene allows for capture in the midday hours, grab the opportunity and be grateful. This is specifically the reason that our team developed night-time CSI/Datacapture, now copied by several training organizations across the country over recent years.
  • Overcapture.​ Too much overlap is significantly preferable to undercapture. Ortho and modeling software love images.
  • Obliques. ​Capture obliques whenever possible. Regardless of intended use, capture the angular views of a scene. When possible, combine with ground-level terrestrial imaging. Sometimes this may be best accomplished by walking the scene perimeter with the UA, capturing as the aircraft is walked. We recommend removing props in these situations to ensure everyone’s safety.

What happens when these points are put aside?

This is a capture of a scene brought to us for “repair,” as the pilot didn’t know what he didn’t know. Although we were able to pull a bit of a scene, the overexposure, too-high altitude/low GSD, and lack of obliques made this scene significantly less valuable than it might have been.

Not understanding the proper role or application of the UA in the capture process, the UA pilot created a scene that is difficult to accurately measure, lacking appropriate detail, and the overexposure creates difficulties laying in the mesh. While this scene is somewhat preserved as a twin, there is much detail missing where the equipment had the necessary specifications and components to capture a terrific twin. Pilot error cannot be fixed. Operating on the “FORD” principle, understanding that ​FO​cus, exposu​R​e, and ​D​istance (GSD) cannot be rectified/compensated for in post processing means it has to be captured properly the first time. The above scene can’t be properly brought to life due to gross pilot error.


Ultimately, the primary responsibility is to go beyond a digital twin of the scene, but instead offer deep value to the investigator(s) which may enhance or accelerate their investigations. Regardless of whether it’s a crash scene, insurance capture, energy audit, or other mapping activity, understanding how to set up the mission, fly, process, and export the mission is paramount.

Capturing these sorts of scenes are not for the average run n’ gun 107 certificate holder. Although newer pilots may feel they are all things to all endeavors benefitting from UA, planning, strategy, and experience all play a role in ensuring qualified and quality captures occur. Pilots wanting to get into mapping should find themselves practicing with photogrammetry tools and flying the most challenging environments they can find in order to be best prepared for environmental, temporal, and spatial challenges that may accompany an accident scene. Discovery breeds experience when it’s cold and batteries expire faster, satellite challenges in an RTK or PPK environment, planning for overheated tablets/devices, managing long flight times on multi-battery missions, or when winds force a crabbing mission vs a head/tailwind mission. Learning to maintain GSD in wild terrain, or conducting operations amidst outside forces that influence the success or failure of a mission only comes through practice over time. Having a solid, tried and true risk mitigation/SMS program is crucial to success.

We were pleased to close out this highly successful mission, and be capable of delivering a 3.5 GB geotiff for overlay on Google Earth, while also being able to export the project for investigators to view at actual ground height, saving time, providing a safety net in rugged terrain, and a digital record/twin of the crash scene that may be used until the accident investigation is closed.


●  2X Autel EVOII™ Pro aircraft

●  Autel Mission Planner software

●  FoxFury D3060 lighting

●  DTResearch 301 RTK tablet

●  Seko field mast/legs

●  Seko RTK antenna

●  Hoodman GCP

●  Hoodman Hoods

●  Manfrotto Tripod

●  Dot3D Windows 10 software

●  Pix4DMapper software

●  Luminar 4 software

Experts Tested 4 Different Drone Mapping Solutions for Crime Scene Investigation

Experts Tested 4 Different Drone Mapping Solutions for Crime Scene Investigation. Here’s What Happened.

At Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas, more than 300 drone industry professionals watched as experts tested four different drone mapping solutions for crime scene investigation at night.

Guest post by Douglas Spotted Eagle, Chief Strategy Officer at KukerRanken

Commercial UAV Expo brought UAS professionals, developers, manufacturers, first responders, and related industries under one roof for the first time in nearly two years. Due to the pandemic, the show was less attended than previous years, yet provided robust live demonstrations, night flight, daytime seminars, panels, and case studies for the relatively large audience. There was a strong buzz amongst the crowd about being at an in-person event, and experiencing face to face communication for the first time in many months.

In addition to the “Beyond the Cage” Live Drone Demo Day that launched Commercial UAV 2021, produced by Sundance Media Group, Wednesday night provided attendees with a glimpse of the Crime Scene Investigator tools function in the dark hours. Sundance Media Group developed this methodology several years ago at the request of a law enforcement agency and has been presenting this methodology at academies, colleges, universities, and tradeshows since 2017, with a variety of aircraft including DJI Mavic, Phantom 4, Yuneec H520, Skydio, and Autel EVO series (versions 1 and 2). All successfully output data, excepting Skydio, which struggles with brightly lit events in surrounding darkness.

Presented by FoxFury, Sundance Media Group, Autel, and Pix4D, this event also invited SkyeBrowse to participate in the demonstration, showing the effectiveness and speed of their application.

Testing Drone Mapping Solutions for Crime Scene Investigation: Setting the Scene

With a model covered in moulage, mock slit throat, and blood trail on the ground, the demonstration began with the multi-vendor team led by Brady Reisch, Bryan Worthen of Kuker-Ranken, Todd Henderson and Patrick Harris of SMG,  and David Martel.  The team  placed four FoxFury T56 lighting systems at specific, measured points in the scene, supplemented by FoxFury NOW  lanterns and Rugo lighting to fill in holes and eliminate shadows.

Douglas Spotted Eagle of SMG and KukerRanken emcee’d the event through the two flights.

Douglas Spotted Eagle addresses the crowd of 300 persons

SkyeBrowse had the first flight, with its one-button capture. Brady Reisch set up the mission, with input from the SkyeBrowse developer instructing the exposure levels of the camera for the SkyeBrowse video mission. Once the mission was completed, the photos were uploaded to the SkyeBrowse website, where results were found approximately 30 minutes following the flight.

Brady Reisch of KukerRanken sets up the Skybrowse mission with Bobby Ouyang of Skybrowse

The Autel EVO II Pro was programmed on-site for an automated Skybrowse mission and the demonstration began. The area is highly congested with palm trees and buildings enclosing the small rotunda in front of the Mirage Hotel Convention Center.

Brady Reisch flew the second EVO II  mission manually, in much the same configuration as though the aircraft had flown a double-grid mission, supplemented by high-altitude orbit, coupled with manually captured orbit and select placements. Because of the crowd, time was a consideration. In an actual homicide scene, more low-placed images would have been captured.

Brady Reisch monitors time as Pix4DReact rapid-renders the scene (60 seconds)

The mission photos were uploaded to Pix4dReact on-scene and rendered while the audience observed, requiring approximately 60 seconds to output an ortho-rectified, 2D image, complete with evidence markers/tags, and PDF supplemental report output. Also loaded were the photo images into Pix4D and Leica Infinity software packages, to be rendered for 3D viewing once the show floor opened on Thursday. Pix4DReact is a two-dimensional, rapid-mapping solution, so there is no 3D view.

The four screen captures tell the rest of the story, and readers can determine for themselves what each software is capable of providing.  One point of interest is that there were many claims of “guaranteed 1cm of precision regardless of flight area,” which has yet to be verified. The Kuker-Ranken team will be re-flying a mission with two separate GPS systems (Leica and Emlid) to verify the claims of precision.

Precision is Repeatable

Precision is repeatable. Accuracy is the degree of closeness to true value. Precision is the degree to which an instrument or process will repeat the same value. In other words, accuracy is the degree of veracity while precision is the degree of reproducibility. With a base station, NTRIP, Spydernet, PPK, or RTK workflow, precision is always the goal, well-beyond accuracy. This is a relatively new discussion in the use of unmanned aircraft, and although the topic seems simple enough, complexity holds challenges not easily dismissed by inexperience or lacking education and practice.  We are fortunate to have a partner in Kuker-Ranken, providing precision tools to the survey, forensic, civil engineering, and AEC industries since 1928. The KR team includes PLS’, EIT, and other accredited precision professionals, rarely found in the UAS industry.

Precision is critical for surveyors, civil engineers, forensic analysts and investigators, construction sites, mapping, agriculture, and other verticals in the UAS industry, and this sort of scene is no exception. Being able to properly place a map or model into a coordinate is necessary for many professional pilots in the UAV field, and while this mission is not precise to coordinate, it is precise within itself, or in other words, measurements will be accurate in the image, while being imprecise to the overall location.

We’ll dive more deeply into precision in a future article. For purposes of this exercise, we’re more interested in accuracy of content in the scene, and all four outputs were similar in accuracy within the scene itself. In other words, distances, volumes, and angles may be measured point to point. Pix4DReact is not as accurate as the other three tools, as it’s not intended to be a deeply accurate application given speed of output.

Output Results of Drone Mapping Solutions

Output #1: SkyeBrowse (processing time, approximately 35 minutes)

Output #2: Pix4Dreact (processing time, approximately 1 minute)

drone mapping solution Pix4Dreact

Output #3: Pix4Dmapper (processing time, approximately 2.5 hours)

drone mapping solutions Pix4Dmapper

Output #4: Leica Infinity (processing time, approximately 2 hours, 50 minutes)

drone mapping solutions Leica Infinity

Agencies who would like access to this data are invited to contact Brady Reisch, VDC Specialist at Kuker-Ranken.