Drone research Stories September 8

MSU research group uses drones to examine climate trends in Alaska

A team of researchers from Montana State University’s College of Agriculture brought drones to examine climate trends to Fairbanks, Alaska. The research group will use data from the drones in combination with ground measurements and data from other sources to improve their understanding of how the climate might be changing.

Photo: Researchers from the Montana State University Land Resources Environmental Sciences department recently traveled to Alaska to collect data on thawing permafrost soils in boreal and arctic regions. Courtesy of MSU News Service.

Drone research Stories June 25

Measuring the growth of a Brazilian Rainforest can be a big challenge, however, an international team of researchers uses lidar-equipped drones as low-cost data collectors to monitor the forest restoration. The researchers have developed a drone that is equipped with three-dimensional laser scanning and hyperspectral imaging systems and that is capable of producing high-resolution maps and collecting hundreds of images at different wavelengths for any given area. With the drones, larger areas of the forest can be observed more efficiently than was previously done with researchers on the ground. The unmanned aircraft also have an advantage over lidar-equipped airplanes, which are more expensive to run and more complicated to organize.

You can find more articles about drones being used for research here.

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DJI Mavic Pro

Drone research Stories May 9

College students of New Mexico use drones to map the location of dinosaur tracks in a state park. In a recent statement, New Mexico State Parks announced it is teaming up with Central New Mexico Community College students and the New Mexico Museum of National History and Science to map the footprints of dinosaurs at Clayton Lake State Park.

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Drone research Stories October 25, 2018

FlyCroTugs: Small wasp-inspired drone can pull 40 times its own weight

The FlyCroTugs, Developed in the labs of Mark Cutkosky, the Fletcher Jones Chair in the School of Engineering at Stanford University, and Dario Floreano at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, are small drones that can pull 40 times their own weight. The name derives from Flying MiCro Tugging and the small unmanned aircraft are inspired by wasps and geckos. Wasps can drag much larger prey away by using a special structure on their feet called an arolium. It helps them to get grip on a surface. Geckos have a similar ability to find grip on very smooth surfaces although they use a different technique. The FlyCroTugs drones took inspiration from both the wasps and geckos and it allows them to drag items that are far too heavy to carry. If a task is too big for a single drone, FlyCroTugs can team up and achieve extraordinary results, such as opening a door. See the video below.

Drone research Stories October 8, 2018

Tests performed at the University of Dayton Research Institute’s Impact Physics Lab show that even the impact of a small drone, like a DJI Phantom can have severe consequences. The tests were designed to mimic a midair collision at 238 mph. A 2.1-pound DJI Phantom 2 drone was launched into the wing of a Mooney M20 aircraft. As you can see in the video below, the drone did not shatter upon impact but tore open the leading edge of the wing. It entered the wing’s structure and damaged the main spar, posing a risk to manned aircraft.

10/8/18: The article was updated with a longer version video about the test.

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Drone research Stories August 13, 2018

We reported briefly on Ocean Alliance before, but this video that the non-profit organization provided us with is simply too good not to be shared. The drone footage of the whales is amazing and also the innovative way these researchers have been able to use drones, is a great example of how these unmanned aircraft can be used for good in the world. DJI has acknowledged this as well and is an official partner for the not-for-profit. The organization uses an Inspire drone, called the SnotBot to capture the droplets with DNA as the whales exhale by flying the drone through the spray. Fascinating stuff!

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