Taking UAV Technology Even Higher

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By Luke Carothers

Alexey Dobrovolskiy, CTO of SPH Engineering.

UAV/Drone technology started with a small niche in the engineering and construction industries.  As UAV/Drone technology increases, however, this niche begins to grow, and the multitude of situations in which drones can be utilized likewise increases.

At the forefront of this burgeoning technology is Alexey Dobrovolskiy and his company SPH Engineering, which is based in Latvia (EU). Dobrovolskiy founded SPH Engineering as a way to make planning for drone missions easier; he is currently the company’s Chief Technology Officer and sits on the board.  The need for such a tool is clearly evident as SPH Engineering has partners in over 150 countries worldwide with 45 percent of those partners being located within the United States.

Like UAV/Drone Technology, SPH Engineering has blossomed into something bigger than it was originally envisioned to be.  According to Dobrovolskiy, the company was founded upon the belief that technology was needed to plan and execute drone projects that were more complex.  As such, SPH Engineering offered their flagman product UgCS, which is mission planning and flight control software.  With this software, drone operators are also capable of creating 2D and elevation maps to safely complete drone missions.

Today, SPH Engineering features four key product lines: UgCS and UgCS Mapper, UgCS Integrated Systems, Drone Show Software, and ATLAS.

SPH Engineering’s second product line, UgCS Integrated Systems adds an array of capabilities that enable drones to complete scans of highlighted areas using different sensors.  This makes drones compatible with sensors capable of equipment such as: echo-sounders, methane detectors, magnetometers, and ground penetrating radar (GPR).

As a result of these sensors, drones are now capable of completing such tasks as bathymetric and GPR scans. Dobrovolskiy notes that it is especially popular for completing geophysical surveys in South America.  Interestingly, using GPR through UgCS Industrial Solutions, a company was able to find a lost airplane that had crashed in 1942.

According to Dobrovolskiy, the third product line–drone show software– is interesting in that it introduces the idea of drone piloting as an art form.  This is the only commercially-available software capable of managing drone swarm flights.  Recently, this product line was used to coordinate the first international drone show choreography competition.  The competition featured 153 participants from a number of different industries.

SPH Engineering international drone show choreography competition was a resounding success, and Dobrovolskiy believes that drones are a safe replacement for fireworks shows.  This poses an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional fireworks displays in the United States that are both costly and environmentally challenging.

The fourth and final product line offered by SPH Engineering is ATLAS, which is an artificial intelligence (AI) platform used to process and analyze geospatial data.  This allows users to turn aerial imagery into business insights through object detection as well as counting and tracking segmentation.   The newest of SPH Engineering’s product line, Dobrovolskiy believes they are still looking for its niche, but he believes that it has significant potential in precision agriculture, construction, and possibly search and rescue operations.


Luke Carothers is the Editor for Civil + Structural Engineer Media. If you want us to cover your project or want to feature your own article, he can be reached at lcarothers@zweiggroup.com.

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