Accurate track planning with laser measurements

The Red Bull Air Race is at the forefront of technology and constantly looking at ways to further advance the ultimate motorsport series in the sky. A team of RIEGL laser experts were on site at the Red Bull Ring measuring and mapping the racetrack with drones and laser precision.

RIEGL Laser Measurement GmbH recently scanned the entire Red Bull Ring racetrack with its RIEGL RiCOPTER remotely piloted aircraft system that carries a lightweight laser scanner. From there, the team created a 3D point cloud which gathered information for the Red Bull Air Race aviation team.

The information collected is being used for the track-planning tool with 100% realistic scenery. The mapping also takes potential obstacles that could be in the vicinity of the flight path into account. This data is then developed into a simulator for the aviation department with obstacles realistically placed, thanks to the high precision data collected.

To cover the Red Bull Ring, the RIEGL team deployed the RiCOPTER for a total of five flights to collect the data. Each flight lasted between 12 and 15 minutes and covered different areas of the circuit. After each flight, the data was downloaded and the UAV was sent airborne again.

The RiCOPTER UAV is equipped with a lightweight and compact LiDAR scanner, the VUX-1, developed by RIEGL has a field of view up to 230° and up to two cameras integrated to complement the laser scan data with image data. The laser scanner is capable of producing a 2D or 3D image from the location and is correlated via GPS to make sure that the information is smoothly applicable for further processing.

The Red Bull Air Race Team is using RIEGL LiDAR data for the first time in Spielberg but plans to use it for even more locations worldwide and applications in the future. For this particular application, it is currently in the testing and evaluation phase but could help in the future to allow the race judges to assess that pilots stay at the minimum flight altitude, for instance. It also has dramatic potential to help fans better understand the technical explanation of the track in TV broadcasting.

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