Vexcel UltraCam Panther: An Anticipated 3D-Scanning Backpack Arrives


3D scanning backpacks may not be 100% mature just yet, but it’s impossible to deny that they are on the rise. In the past few years alone, we’ve seen experiments from tech-savvy DIY types as well as a number of products from big manufacturers.

Now, there’s another product to add to the list. Vexcel has officially announced the much-anticipated UltraCam Panther backpack, which captures full-spherical imagery, video, “dense 3D lidar point clouds,” and trajectory information both indoors and outdoors.

As you might expect from a photogrammetry veteran like Vexcel, the UltraCam Panther’s imaging setup is one of the primary attractions. The device includes a panoramic head equipped with 26 cameras to capture high resolution “photogrammetric-grade” imagery. Vexcel has also gone the unusual route of supplying accurate trajectory data in GPS-denied areas by using a visual odometry sensor that feeds a proprietary software solution.

3D capture is handled by a rotating, multi-beam lidar (which, from the picture, looks like some variation on the Velodyne Puck).

The Panther is noteworthy for one more reason. It’s designed to be modular, so customers can equip the frame with the sensors necessary to capture the right kind of data for each individual project. Vexcel notes that all sensors are geometrically calibrated, synchronized ,and timestamped, “resulting in precise registration between the lidar data and imagery.”

Vexcel has not yet announced pricing or a release date for the UltraCam Panther.


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