LiDAR technology developer Emesent has responded to President Joe Biden’s foreign drone ban by announcing plans to equip one of the USA’s leading drone manufacturers.

Biden’s regulation prohibiting US federal funds from being used to acquire Chinese, Russian, Iranian, or North Korean drones has been lept upon by Emesent as an opportunity. As part of its latest high-profile contract, it will now provide the LiDAR technologies needed to help the American-made Freefly Astro navigate GPS-deprived environments. 

Specifically, the firm has agreed to fit the drones with Hovermap units, designed for rapidly capturing high quality surveying data. According to inside unmanned systems, these will allow pilots to “enjoy a simple and stress-free” experience, when LiDAR mapping large areas. 

Also built for backpack, robot, and vehicle mounting, Hovermap systems can capture point cloud data from up to 300 meters away, enabling users to create detailed 3D visualizations from a distance. Thanks to its latest Autonomy Level 2 (AL2) update, it can even navigate hostile weather conditions, and be controlled remotely from take-off to landing. 

All of this may make it sound like the technology is ideal for military applications, but in practice, it’s more often used in industry to aid construction or mining operations. 

So if you ever find yourself walking under a Freefly Astro drone, fear not! It’s more likely to be engaged in geospatial analysis and planning than anything threatening.

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