Autonomous 3D Laser Scanners Are The Future: Immerse Yourself

The challenges of autonomous driving have been making headlines for the past few years, but one area where autonomous technology is making major inroads is in autonomous scanning and surveying technology. Especially with the advent of robust drones for surveying and aerial 3D scanning, autonomous features are helping revolutionize the surveying field in a variety of exciting ways.

If you’ve been surveying with traditional 3D scanners or total stations, then the futuristic possibilities offered by autonomous 3D laser scanners can be particularly exciting. Learn more about how autonomous drones for surveying are making waves in a variety of scanning applications.

What Industries Can Benefit From Autonomous 3D Scanning?

Perhaps one of the flagship autonomous 3D laser scanners is Leica’s BLK2FLY. The BLK2FLY is one of the world’s first autonomous drones for surveying, and it combines its flight capabilities with powerful features like obstacle avoidance in order to quickly, efficiently and safely create 3D data point clouds and scans from the air.

Industries in the architecture, engineering and construction field can greatly benefit from autonomous aerial 3D scans like the ones generated by the BLK2FLY. That’s because when you can use drones for surveying, you’re able to more easily reach hard-to-access points, and create digital twins of building exteriors. These features translate to more accurate scans and less human investment for a more productive surveying job.

From underground surveying to industrial plants and utilities, having access to a surveying device that can handle large environments on its own offers industries of all types a better way to allocate their resources. An employee can set up an autonomous 3D scanner and then focus their attention on other pressing tasks that aren’t able to be automated, thus increasing productivity and efficiency without sacrificing quality.

What’s The Difference Between Autonomous 3D Laser Scanners And Their Predecessors?

Put simply, autonomous 3D laser scanners require much less human intervention in order to work properly and produce accurate results. For example, the Leica BLK ARC offers first-of-its-kind environmental reality capture for robots.

Watch a video of the Leica BLK ARC in action to see how a four-legged robot from Boston Dynamics works with the 3D laser scanner to capture whole environments without the need for human operation at all. The BLK ARC can maneuver through entire floors of a building to create accurate digital twins and 3D point clouds using dual axis LiDAR SLAM that helps to improve control and navigation. The BLK ARC represents the future of 3D laser scanning.

Why Is Autonomous Scanning Exciting?

If you watched the previous video about the Leica BLK ARC and didn’t get excited, perhaps you need to watch it again! Autonomous scanning is exciting for a variety of reasons—namely, how it revolutionizes ease of scanning and safety when completing complex 3D scans on job sites.

Consider how the BLK2FLY literally takes aerial scanning to new heights, allowing for complex facades and out-of-reach areas to be captured. Or think about the BLK ARC surveying a job site that isn’t stable or safe for humans to travel into. Just as robotic vacuums do a better job cleaning than humans do (no matter how erratic their path may look), robotic and autonomous 3D laser scanning is allowing for more dynamic scans than we’ve ever seen before. 

Interested in joining the autonomous scanning revolution? Datum Tech Solutions has popular Leica equipment like the BLK2FLY and BLK2GO available for rent or purchase. These 3D laser scanners use powerful autonomous features to streamline your process, improve accuracy and ultimately save you time and money on the job site.

Reach out to Datum Tech Solutions today to learn more about buying or renting their autonomous drones for surveying. Datum Tech can even help you get trained in how to use these exciting, futuristic features.

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The Leica BLK2FLY is an autonomous flying laser scanner with advanced obstacle avoidance for easy reality capture from the sky. It captures building exteriors, structures, and environments to create 3D point clouds while flying.

The BLK2FLY is designed to be easy-to-use: with a few simple taps on a tablet, users can set the BLK2FLY aloft to autonomously scan building exteriors and features, such as hard-to-access areas like rooftops and facades. Deploying the device itself is as easy as unfolding it, switching it on with the press of a button, and placing it on the ground, ready for takeoff.

BLK2FLY autonomous flying laser scanner:

  • Allows you to scan hard-to-reach areas like building facades and rooftops
  • Autonomously captures complete scans of building exteriors to create 3D digital twins
  • GrandSLAM sensor fusion of LiDAR, radar, cameras, and GNSS for complete scan coverage, optimized flight paths, and shortest return to home
  • Advanced obstacle avoidance for superior flight safety
  • Hot-swap battery system
  • Lightweight, portable, easy to use

Users control the BLK2FLY through the BLK2FLY Live App on a tablet for simplified, app-based flying with no need for prior UAV experience. This allows for easy, intuitive control of the BLK2FLY, including live camera feed.

You can select an area within the map on your tablet and the BLK2FLY will create its own flight path to scan it quickly and safely. You can also tap-to-scan: simply send the BLK2FLY to scan a new area by tapping anywhere on the 3D view in the app.

The BLK2FLY Live App also allows you to pilot the BLK2FLY manually with virtual joysticks on your tablet. This critical safety feature always keeps you in control. And for connectivity, the BLK2FLY includes WLAN and LTE communication channels to the tablet for nearly unlimited communication range during flight.

The BLK2FLY makes it easy to get your data into your preferred software and to share your scans with others. It also works seamlessly with other Leica Geosystems sensors and software.

You can directly upload your data to HxDR with automatic conversion to OBJ and cloud-based visualization, and also allow others to access and work with your data, including data download, via HxDR. Or transfer your data to Leica Cyclone REGISTER 360 with USB-C or WLAN for scan-to-BIM workflows.

Autonomous UAV Scanning:

The BLK2FLY intelligently incorporates the environment around it into its flight plans. It keeps the correct distance for ideal scanning and formulates optimized flight routes for return to home.

Full Dome LiDAR Sensor:

The enclosed, full-dome laser scanner onboard the BLK2FLY captures 3D point clouds in all directions.


BLK2FLY takes GrandSLAM technology even further. LiDAR SLAM, Visual SLAM, radar, and GNSS make the BLK2FLY fully autonomous, easy to use, and able to fly safely and accurately on its own.

Complete Scanning with Advanced Obstacle Avoidance:

BLK2FLY uses omnidirectional radar and LiDAR to avoid obstacles for accurate, uninterrupted, and safe scanning.

Hot-Swap Batteries:

The hot-swap battery system keeps you flying. The BLK2FLY will return to you during the scan for new batteries and then continue along with its mission.

Data Spec Sheets:

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