Research project looks to improve drone efficiency and battery life
A new student-led research program has been launched at the UK's University of Southampton with the aim of finding ways to improve the efficiency and extend the battery life of unmanned aviation vehicles used to monitor remote locations.
The project has been set up by Dr. Patricia Turner and former alumnus and tech entrepreneur, Dr. Ewan Kirk. The Turner-Kirk UAV Research Support Programme will fund three fourth-year student teams from the university's engineering department, which has previous form in developing the world's first 3D-printed UAV in 2011. The current student groups will be tasked with finding new ways to cheaply adapt existing drones to minimize energy requirements and so improve efficiency and per charge battery life.
The fruits of these student labors will help with remote monitoring of the impacts of climate change in difficult-to-reach and hostile environments, or keeping track of poaching activity and evaluating natural disasters.
"In the future, it is totally possible that remote and hostile environments worldwide will be constantly monitored by UAVs, feeding back live data to environmental agencies, so we can track our global ecosystem in real-time," said Dr. Kirk. "The application of technology is vital to mitigating environmental changes and the conservation of endangered animals, and universities, which are hotbeds for ideas and innovation, have an important role to play in developing the technology needed."
The research team is expected to undertake a field trip to Guatemala in 2020 with the University of Bristol, to monitor a live volcano using the newly-developed tech.
Source: University of Southampton