3D visualisation adds impact for forensic engineers
Dr Shane Richardson is the Managing Director and Principal Forensic Engineer for Delta-V Experts, a Melbourne-based company that specialises in forensic engineering and safety solutions for the road transport and mining sectors.
“Our work is primarily conducted for lawyers and insurance companies as part of existing or anticipated legal proceedings,” Dr Richardson explained. “We conduct a thorough damage analysis of the vehicle(s) involved in the incident so that we can build a report that is based purely on the facts and analysis of what happened.”
In addition to road traffic and mining incidents, Delta-V Experts also offers safety solutions, including its award-winning Rollover Protection Systems (ROPS) for light vehicles, trucks, buses and mining machinery.
Recently, the company invested in new 3D handheld laser scanning technology to create an accurate point cloud of each vehicle. “Previously, we used a total station to take a series of measurements, which gave us the information we needed but nothing more,” Dr Richardson said.
“With the new FARO handheld scanner, we get more information than we actually need, however we can do so much more with it. Being able to provide a 3D model of the vehicle(s) involved is very powerful, it helps to portray the story to the client and potentially the court,” he added.
Unlike a total station that provides point-to-point measurements, the FARO Freestyle3D handheld scanner can deliver a full 360 degree data set. “Once you have a point cloud of the vehicle, you have a complete data set that you can refer back to or check a different measurement whenever you need to. Whereas if a point was missed during the initial survey with a total station, you’d have to set it up again and re-measure it.”
In addition to the detailed data sets provided by the scanner, Dr Richardson also explained that there are significant cost and time savings to each project. “There needs to be an economic advantage to technology to make it viable and the handheld laser scanner has significantly reduced our turnaround time during the data capture phase of a project,” he said.
“Now we are able to scan three cars in an hour, a task that would have taken a fully day with a total station.”
When asked why Delta-V Experts opted for the FARO Freestyle3D, Dr Richardson said it was a combination of ease-of-use, functionality and local support. “I think the FARO handheld scanner is the easiest to use on the market and it comes as a complete, compact package,” he said. “It is so easy to transport, set up and use compared with a total station, which is heavy and cumbersome.”
The FARO Freestyle3D comes with a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet, which enables real-time visualisation while scanning, along with FARO Scene software for post processing the data. The scanner, tablet, calibration plate and extension cable are all packaged into a tough Peli case for easy transportation.
“The Freestyle3D was the right fit for our work in terms of the resolution and range that it has,” Dr Richardson said. “We can scan as much or as little as we need to and it is quick to process so that we can begin using the data immediately.”
Local support from FARO’s Australian distributor Position Partners was also key in the decision-making process. “It was very important to us to have local support and a good relationship with the supplier,” Dr Richardson said. “We didn’t want to purchase a system from overseas and then be left without support and I’ve been very impressed with the level of service we’ve received from Position Partners.”
One of the biggest advantages the handheld scanner gives Delta-V Experts, Dr Richardson explained, is a point of difference from other service providers. “We are Australia’s largest company in our field of expertise and the scanner gives us the option to go one step further with the reports we deliver. We can provide clients with an accurate 3D model to assist with visualising the scene, or potentially even a physical miniature of the crash site through the use of a 3D printer, which could be helpful during legal proceedings.”
“The addition of this technology has been a terrific asset to our business,” Dr Richardson concluded.