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Is the Leica Pegasus TRK a game-changer for mobile mapping?

Operable by one person, combining two laser scanners and applying AI in various workflows, in combination with newly developed field software, the Leica Pegasus TRK aims to transform mobile mapping.

Leverage AI in multiple workflows

The Leica Pegasus TRK uses artificial intelligence capabilities to transform mobile mapping. Pegasus TRK leverages AI in various workflow areas: in real-time during acquisition, it scrambles personal data in compliance with GDPR privacy regulations such as pedestrians, vehicles, cyclists and other participants in the traffic. The trained AI model analyzes each image and blurs GDPR-protected subjects in real time. This means that the images are stored without the possibility of unmasking personal data. By doing so, confidentiality is maintained, regardless of where the data set is stored or processed.

This is a huge achievement because otherwise the data collector would need an infrastructure with traceability features to clearly prove where personal data is stored or manipulated throughout the lifetime of the captured data. The Pegasus TRK control unit is equipped with the latest generation hardware architecture, with a dedicated AI module that processes imaging on the move to make real-time processing possible. All data is then stored instantly on a removable SSD, so data transfer is a thing of the past.

AI is also leveraged in post-processing, where the point cloud is automatically classified into dedicated classes such as roads, sidewalks, buildings, vegetation, poles, barriers, and various additional classes. The trained AI models are capable of so much more, but Leica Geosystems focused primarily on the most critical aspect: preserving privacy. In the future, customers will benefit from even more advanced features, making Pegasus TRK efficient like no mobile mapping system before.

Combination of several integrated laser scanners

The Pegasus TRK is not a single device, but a pair of two different systems, offering different configurations for different needs, costs and use cases. The Leica Pegasus TRK500 Neo is a unique scanner performing 500,000 measurements per second and generating a single line point cloud pattern. Pegasus TRK was designed from the ground up and considered the characteristics of a single sensor to make them work best. The result is an unrivaled level of precision in both RTK (Real Time Kinematics) and PP (Post Processing).

While the TRK500 is equipped with a single ToF (Time of Flight) scanner, the TRK700 has two integrated scanners. The TRK500 collects with a continuously rotating scanning head at a frequency of 250 Hz half a million points per second. The scan line is vertical to the driving direction. The TRK700, featuring a dual scanner, collects one million points per second in a cross point cloud pattern (left, diagonal, right diagonal) providing better point cloud coverage and higher point density.

A mobile mapping system for a single operator

The Pegasus TRK is so lightweight it can be operated by one person, making mapping projects more efficient and cost-effective. “Making cutting-edge technology accessible was one of the main goals we pursued during development,” says Alessandro Nuzzo, Mobile Mapping Product Manager at Leica Geosystems. “We put the user at the center of the product development and analyzed the main weak points when using mobile mapping systems. By following various usability concepts, the user will notice during installation what we imagined: an easy-to-use system with an intelligent sensor architecture capable of autonomously capturing data.”

The clear goal was to develop a system that could be installed and operated by one person, which would reduce personnel costs and eliminate the barrier of entry for newcomers to the technology. The weight of the system has been reduced from 49 kilograms to 18 kilograms and a unique rotating tilt bracket now facilitates installation, reducing the lifting height of the system by 36 cm and avoiding risky lifting operations.

Leica Pegasus FIELD Software

“In addition, we developed the acquisition software, Pegasus FIELD, from scratch, and its user-friendliness makes a big difference in the way the user interacts with the machine.

The combination of Pegasus FIELD and Control Unit transforms the workflow of reality capture professionals. It allows users to go directly from data capture to processing, when they need it. Data preprocessing begins with a simple touch in the field. The system works when you return to the office,” adds Nuzzo.

Pegasus FIELD is the “operating system” running on the system, which manages the hardware, triggers data capture, performs various real-time operations, and ensures that work runs according to project parameters. Pegasus OFFICE is the office-based suite that processes collected data and provides georeferenced point clouds and 3D images. Various refinement tools improve the quality of the trajectory, such as SLAM calculation in areas refused by GNSS or multi-pass adjustment in case of repeated passes over the same area. There are other built-in workflows, not only to add layers of information to the processed data, but also to extract various features such as traffic lane lines or to classify the point cloud by object classes.

The user-friendliness of the system makes it suitable for professionals new to technology. Nuzzo explains what usability means in practice: “We look at the user experience as a whole, where experiences are the sum of the emotions a user will feel when adopting Pegasus TRK. The small details matter to make intuitive things: this applies to the installation of the system, but also to the process of guiding users from project configuration to data collection and data processing.Wherever possible, we have implemented fully automatic workflows, reducing the complexity that novices face when first using mobile mapping systems.It’s about real-time feedback, eliminating gray areas during use, the ability to plan an acquisition route, be guided and routed while the system autonomously triggers the sensor to collect based on the requirements of the pr object.

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