Swift VTOL Drone Completes 3D-Imaging Tests Over Forest in Japan

By Amy Kluber | August 14, 2018
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Swift Engineering Swift020 Japan

Swift Engineering's Swift020 flying over Kobe, Japan. Photo courtesy of Swift

The Swift020 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) successfully flew over densely forested areas in the Ishikawa prefecture of Japan last month, collecting forestry data that will aid sustainable timber harvesting.

The drone, which is currently undergoing flight tests, could be used in forest management and other applications once operational.


The partnership behind the drone, Swift-Xi, aims to develop a vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) UAS that transitions to fixed-wing forward flight without additional equipment.

The flight test is the latest in a series of demonstrations the manufacturer is performing in Japan for potential applications in a variety of industries, including forestry.

“In less than a 15-minute demonstration, which is barely 10% of the endurance of the Swift020 UAS, we were able to collect over 180 acres worth of high-fidelity data to support sustainable harvesting plans for the forestry industry,” said Alex Echeverria, director of business development for Swift Engineering, one of the partners in the drone-development venture. “By utilizing cutting edge data collection, analysis and reporting technologies, we are able to provide a full turn-key service model that provides our customers with the right information when they need it.”

Swift’s proprietary software provides 3D point cloud, 2D Geo referenced orthomosaic imagery and elevation and terrain data for a site to identify, in this case, overall health conditions of forests.

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