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Hovermap is a 3D lidar mapping and autonomy payload suitable for small rotorcraft Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). It utilises our proprietary Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) solution to generate 3D point clouds and therefore does not require GPS. This allows low-cost, high-resolution UAV-based lidar mapping both indoors and outdoors. The lidar is also used in real-time for collision avoidance, providing a virtual safety sphere around the UAV.

Two prototype versions have been developed: Hovermap30 which uses the 30m range Hokuyo lidar, and Hovermap100 which uses the 100m range Velodyne Puck Lite lidar. Download a fact-sheet for Hovermap30 or Hovermap100.

Commercialisation Status

Hovermap is currently being commercialised and will be available to purchase in Q3 2017. The commercial version will include RGB cameras to colour the point cloud and conduct visual inspections. An Early Adopter Program has been launched for beta testing of this version. For more information please contact: Stefan Hrabar.

Hovermap100 prototype mounted to UAV
Commercial version of Hovermap100
Hovermap30 payloadHovermap30 mounted to UAV

Hovermap Payload

The payload is a self-containted unit and can therefore be mounted to any suitable rotorcraft UAV without the need for autopilot integration. As the unit rotates is produces  a full spherical field of view around the UAV with minimal occlusion from  the  UAV airframe. This makes it possible to map above, below and all around simultaneously so Hovermap is suitable for mapping indoors, underground and underneath overhanging structures such as bridges. 

Map Generation

Lidar data is logged onboard to removable storage media during a mapping flight and then uploaded to a server for processing. Multiple maps with overlapping portions can automatically be combined.


  • Asset management
  • Infrastructure and building inspection 
  • Forensic crime scene mapping
  • Underground mine mapping


Lidar Hokuyo UTM-LX30-FVelodyne Puck Lite (VLP-16)
Lidar RangeUp to 30m (15m outdoors)Up to 100m
Lidar Dual ReturnNoYes
Lidar Intensity ValuesNoYes
Lidar Scan planes116
Lidar Accuracy (local)+/- 1cm @ 10m, +/- 3cm @ 30m+/- 3cm

3D Measurement Accuracy

(Global SLAM accuracy)

+/- 0.1% (typically)
Angular Field of View360 x 360 degrees
Max Map SizeUnlimited*
Data Acquisition Speed
Up to 41,600 measurement points/secUp to 300,000 measurement points/sec
Recommended Flight Speed1-2 m/s (scene dependant)up to 5 m/s (scene dependant)
Laser Safety ClassClass 1 Eye Safe
Power18 – 24W50-60W
Point Cloud Format.laz, .ply

 *Individual maps limited by available onboard storage. Separate maps can be merged

Example Hovermap Mapping Applications



Parkes Radio Telescope

Sydney Cricket Ground

Liquid Storage Tank



Communications Tower

Industrial Sheds (indoors)

Construction Site
 Power Lines 

Images copyright of Stefan Hrabar / CSIRO 2015. For permission to use these images please contact  Stefan Hrabar


Media Coverage



Spatial Source article: "Australia leads RPAS collision avoidance technology"

UAS Vision article: "Australia Develops RPAS Collision Avoidance Technology"

The Huffington Post Australia article: "New Laser Technology Expected To Prevent Drone Collisions


This paper describes a previous version of the payload (known as bentwing) which was passively actuated by the downwash of the UAV. The underlying mapping techniques are identical however:

Kaul, L., Zlot, R. and Bosse, M. (2015), Continuous-Time Three-Dimensional Mapping for Micro Aerial Vehicles with a Passively Actuated Rotating Laser Scanner. J. Field Robotics. doi: 10.1002/rob.21614  pdf