Skip to main content



  • What do UA, UAV and UAS stand for and what is the difference?
    • UA: Unmanned Aircraft
    • UAV: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
    • UAS: Unmanned Aircraft System

    UA and UAV is the same thing. They refer to the actual unmanned flying vehicle; this is the airplane. UA is the more official acronym; UAV is slightly outdated but still widely used.

    UAS is a more comprehensive term, in that it refers to the UA plus the related equipment needed to get it up into the air. Typically, this includes the ground control station (GCS) and radio modem for communicating with the UA. It also includes a launching system.

  • Is it difficult to operate a Trimble UAS?

    No. In fact, we took every effort to make our UAS very accessible and easy-to-use. The aircraft operates fully autonomous and can handle windy and turbulent weather conditions all by itself. Flight configuration and monitoring is performed with our flight management software that makes the procedure step-by-step and straight-forward. The UX5 uses our latest version, which is integrated in Trimble Access, and allows for the quickest and easiest approach. You are airborn within 5 minutes. During flight, you basically monitor its progress and use your action buttons only in case of a safety hazard or whenever you want to prematurely stop you flight.

  • Are there concerns with vibration/shock during transport or flight?

    No. A Trimble UAS is being delivered in a shock-free flight case. The aircraft itself is designed to handle the limited vibration originating from its electric motor. This will not impact flying or imaging quality. 

  • What is the time required for the training?

    We defined a 3-day training program and expect that even inexperienced operators can learn to operate the system with confidence in that time. The training program consists of a theoretical part, a practical part and a software part.

  • What happens in case of a failure during the flight?

    A Trimble UAS operates with a Trimble Yuma tablet as ground control station. The setup wizard contains pre-flights check procedures to ensure that the vehicle operates well and failure risk is minimal. Still, if a failure happens during flight this will be reported to the operator. It gives the operator the option to intervene and abort the flight. In certain conditions (such as GPS loss and airspeed detection above a certain safety threshold) pre-programmed fail-safe procedures will take over and assure a safe touch-down.

  • Do I need to have a background in photogrammetry to operate a UAS?

    No. You don’t need to know how to take images or how to program your flight. This is all automated. For experts it is good to know that the software gives you some freedom to change settings such as forward and side overlap but it is important to know that you don’t need to have expertise in order to get quality results. If you use Trimble Business Center’s Photogrammetry module, you also ensures that your image processing work is fully automated.

  • What are the maintenance requirements for Trimble UAS?

    A Trimble UAS has limited maintenance needs. You just have to clean the body and wipe off the dust with a brush. Some items can be swapped in case of damage (such as propellers). Service life will eventually end when wing damage prohibits a safe flight. In that case, the user will simply need to swap the airframe body. This is easy: just remove electronics box (ebox), battery and camera and place it in a new body.

  • What aeronautical knowledge must be taken to operate the equipment?

    Aeronautical knowledge is not necessarily needed. The basic principles are instructed during the operator training. The training is focused on operating the system safely and effectively in to the airspace. No specific academic or technical knowledge is required. 

  • How is a Trimble UAS powered and propelled?

    The aircraft is powered electrically. It uses a custom packed lithium-polymer battery. It is propelled by an electric brushless motor and a pusher propeller.

  • How do take-off and landing work?

    A Trimble UAS takes off and lands completely automatically. No specific operator skills are required.

    On takeoff, our launcher safely launches the aircraft. You only need to ensure that you do not launch with wind in the back and with appropriate obstacle clearance in front of you. The powerful motor of the UX5 allows it to climb steep and fast to its cruise height. An X100 will climb at an angle of about 15 degrees while a UX5 climbs at an angle of about 30 degrees.

    For landing, you will need an ‘airstrip’ without obstacles measuring 30 m wide and 50 or 150 m long (for the UX5 or X100 respectively). The UX5 typically within a 15 m radius from you indicated landing but some safety margin is appropriate for turbulent and windy conditions. The UX5 also lands at a steep angle due to its innovative reversed thrust control method. The X100 needs a longer landing strip because of its shallow landing angle and less accurate height sensing. Because of a risk in landing inaccuracy, the X100 has a command to correct its landing spot during its approach but this requires some experience.

    See white paper for the innovative UX5 landing. 

  • What payload does a Trimble UAS carry on board?

    A Trimble UAS is equipped with a digital camera configured for optimal data quality. The X100 is equipped with a compact Ricoh GRD type camera and the UX5 with a Sony Nex type camera and custom lense for even better results. 

  • Are there any weather limitations when using Trimble UAS?

    The X100 and UX5 are capable of flying in a wide variety of weather conditions. Both systems can remain perfectly stable in wind speeds of up to 65 km/h because of their aerodynamic design. To guarantee a good acquisition, flights in wind above 50 km/h are not recommended. This equals 6 on the Beaufort scale.

    Both UAS can endure precipitation during flight, but its operation is recommended for dry weather conditions. Operation in outdoor temperatures between -10 degrees Celcius and 40 degrees Celcius is recommended.

  • Does Trimble UAS have an INS-sensor built into it?

    The Trimble UAS has sensors that allow it to approximate its state but it has no accurate INS sensor onboard. The sensors are designed for navigation use and not for direct georeferencing of the vehicle. Our solution relies on powerful image processing software (such as the TBC photogrammetry module) that is able to accurately estimate position and orientation information based on the acquired images and a rough position and orientation of the vehicle

  • Are there any weather limitations when using Trimble UAS?

    The X100 and UX5 are capable of flying in a wide variety of weather conditions. Both systems can remain perfectly stable in wind speeds of up to 65 km/h because of their aerodynamic design. To guarantee a good acquisition, flights in wind above 50 km/h are not recommended. This equals 6 on the Beaufort scale.

    Both UAS can endure precipitation during flight, but its operation is recommended for dry weather conditions. Operation in outdoor temperatures between -10 degrees Celcius and 40 degrees Celcius is recommended.

  • Does Trimble UAS has a GNSS module on-board, or does it rely solely on ground control?

    A Trimble UAS has a GNSS module on-board, which is being used for executing its flight path, shooting the images and as a first estimate of the image positions. Ground control points are not needed during the flight operations. You use GCPs to absolute reference your end products and improve the quality of your results. 

  • How does the flight work?

    A Trimble UAS flight consists of three stages, all of which are fully automatic.

    • Take-off and climb: The Aircraft is launched and will climb to its operational altitude. It will fly in a straight line up to an altitude of 75 m before turning to its first waypoint. Then, it will continue to climb to its preset flight altitude.
    • Scan flight: This is the most important part of the flight, during which the vehicle will fly a series of parallel scan lines covering a rectangular area. The camera acquires images of the area along all of these lines and at fixed points. The flight lines are calculated automatically.
    • Descent and landing: After the scan, the UAS will fly at its preset altitude to its entry point for the landing before starting a descent to 75 m altitude. The X100 will continue flying in a landing pattern (circuit) and finally land in a straight line at its preset landing spot. The UX5 will land immediately in a straight line at its preset landing spot. 
  • What are the limitations regarding the use of this equipment? Are there areas where use is not permitted?

    Depending on the country or state you fly different (but typically similar) rules may apply. These rules are set by your local Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). They typically limit the boundaries of your flight, including the flight height. Some countries do not (yet) allow commercial activities (such as the US). In all countries where we have dealers there is at least a procedure to allow flying. This procedure may be straight-forward or somewhat time consuming, sometimes depending on your application (flying over urban areas will typically require more safety measures than flying over barren terrain). Some areas may be restricted and no flight is allowed. The dealer will guide you in this process.

  • How does the unit adjust for wind direction and velocity?

    A Trimble UAS keeps its straight lines due to its powerful control system and will adjust its cruising speed in head-wind conditions. Its’ acquisition quality will not be impacted by wind as long as the system operates within its specifications. 

  • What kinds of permits, licenses or training are required?

    You can obtain a flight permit from your local civil aviation authority (CAA). Some countries have a formalized procedure for this, which makes the process quick and easy. Typically, your training is part of your permit to fly. Other countries take it on a case-by-case basis, which requires an application in advance. The dealer will guide you in this process.

  • Is it safe to fly in a dusty or sandy environment?

    It is safe to fly in such an environment. The Electronics of the UAS are well protected. However, be aware that this is vision-based technology. If the terrain is barely visible because of dust and sand in the air, this will impact the quality of your data.

  • What is the typical turnaround time for a trained Trimble UAS operator?

    The turnaround time depends on the project size, the setup time and the time needed for data and quality check. Depending on the data needs, measurement of ground control might be necessary as well. The software guided workflow of the UX5 allows a much shorter setup and recovery time compared to an X100 (see white paper).Additionally, the UX5 is able to cover a bigger area for the same data quality compared to the X100. In practice this means that a typical project size of about 1 km2 and 5 cm GSD is covered in about 30-40 minutes with a UX5 and 60-70 minutes with a X100.  

  • What is the maximum flight duration?

    The maximum flight duration is 45 minutes and 50 minutes for the X100 and UX5 respectively. This can only be achieved in conditions with limited wind. Be aware that the flight duration is no measure for the coverage capability per flight hour. In the same time the UX5 is typically capable of covering about twice the area of an X100.

  • How big an area can a Trimble UAS cover in one flight?

    Please check the datasheet for a table or the flight calculator for interactively checking the coverage of a specific area.

  • What is the maximum communication range?

    A Trimble UAS is equipped with a 2.4 GHz modem. This modem has a maximum range of 5 km in case of unobstructed line-of-sight.

  • Where can I buy a Trimble UAS?

    Please check-out our distributors page to locate a distributor near you.

  • What happens if you fly outside the range of communication?

    A Trimble UAS has a communication failure mode. It will fly home and land if communication is lost. The user can set the communication time out value. In some countries, Civil Aviation Authorities might request a certain time out value. 

  • For which applications can UAS be used?

    Please check-out our applications page for more information.

  • Is there a recovery option, so the UAS can be detected and recovered if it gets lost or lands outside the range of communication?

    Yes. A Trimble UAS can optionally be equipped with a radio beacon. Using a tracker that is provided with the beacon, a user can locate his vehicle. This beacon remains active for multiple days.

  • Where can I get support?

    You can find the contact details of our global support team on

Image processing

  • What is Trimble Business Center (TBC) Photogrammetry module?

    This is Trimble’s image processing software. It is a module of Trimble Business Center, Trimble’s office software. It is the preferred image processing software for UX5 and X100 data processing. 

  • How long does processing take with TBC and what is the turnaround time?

    Assuming the use of a powerful laptop or workstation, processing of a typical project consisting of about 500 images would take 4-6 hours to finish. Be aware that this is computer time. The processing is fully automatic. The workflow for importing, adding ground control and exporting the data is easy and quick. 

  • What is the accuracy of the obtained orthophotos and point cloud?

    Our answer to this question is based on the resolution of the raw images, assuming that images are sharp and have a good brightness. The accuracies are applicable to terrain types without closed vegetation canopies and with distinctive features (which counts for almost any terrain or object but not for water or perfect, untouched snow fields). For the sake of convenience, the accuracy statistics presented here are for a default project performed at 150 m height, which produces images with 5 cm pixel resolution (the Ground Sampling Distance – GSD), and calculated on independent ground control points (labeled “as check” and not used for processing in the adjustment with control points).

    • The resolution of the orthophoto is maximally equal to the GSD, thus 5 cm.
    • The planimetric accuracy is typically equal to the GSD of 5 cm (1 pixel). On a flat, feature-rich terrain, the planimetric RMS error can be as low as 2.5 cm.
    • The accuracy in z of the points in the DSM is typically 2 to 3 times the planimetric accuracy. On a flat terrain, the RMS error in z can be as low as 5 cm..
    • The bias error for the reference grid will be determined by the accuracy of the Ground Control Points (GCPs) included in the processing and the accuracy of the user selecting his GCP markers in the images (typically, a user inherently introduces an error of 0.5 – 1 pixel when indicating a ground control point). Using high-quality GPS measurements, this can be accurate up to one to two centimetres.
    • TBC allows the grid density of the points in the point cloud to be up to one GSD, thus one point per 5 cm for the default case. This results in many millions of points for a typical project.
  • Are there any datasamples obtained with the X100 or UX5 available?

    Yes, you can find them on our downloads page. If you need specific datasamples, don’t hesitate to contact for more information.

Newsletter subscription