Radiation-tracking drone could follow leaks to their source
Searching for sources of potentially harmful radiation isn't a job that most people would want – so why not get a drone to do it? Well, a team of Czech engineers is currently developing just such an aircraft.
The currently unnamed radiation-tracking quadcopter is being developed via a partnership between the Multi-Robot Systems laboratory at the Czech Technical University in Prague, and Finnish/Czech imaging company ADVACAM. The former is designing the drone itself, while the latter is supplying the onboard radiation detector.
Plans call for the aircraft to be able to autonomously seek out various types of radiation in settings such as disaster sites, dumping sites, or nuclear power plants. When problematic radiation is detected, the drone will reportedly be capable of determining the direction in which the radioactive particles are traveling, thus allowing it to quickly follow them back to their source.
Additionally, it will be able to navigate indoor environments – where GPS doesn't work – employing collision-avoidance sensors to keep from running into obstacles.
According to ADVACAM, not only should use of the drones be safer than utilizing human ground crews, but it also ought to be much cheaper and "up to 100 times more efficient." The company states that a working prototype should be ready by autumn (Northern Hemisphere), with an international commercial roll-out taking place in about a year and a half.