via Imperial College London
Sensors for forest monitoring are already used to track changes in temperature, humidity and light, as well as the movements of animals and insects through their habitat. They also help to detect and monitor forest fires and can provide valuable data on how climate change and other human activities are impacting the natural world.
However, placing these sensors can prove difficult in large, tall forests, and climbing trees to place them poses its own risks.
Now, researchers at Imperial College London‘s Aerial Robotics Laboratory have developed drones that can shoot sensor-containing darts onto trees several metres away in cluttered environments like forests. The drones can also place sensors through contact or by perching on tree branches.
The researchers hope the drones will be used in future to create networks of sensors to boost data on forest ecosystems, and to track hard-to-navigate biomes like the Amazon rainforest.
Lead researcher Professor Mirko Kovac, director of the Aerial Robotics Lab from the Department of Aeronautics at Imperial said: “Monitoring forest ecosystems can be difficult, but our drones could deploy whole networks of sensors to boost the amount and precision of environmental and ecological data.
“I like to think of them as artificial forest inhabitants who will soon watch over the ecosystem and provide the data we need to protect the environment.”
The drones are equipped with cameras to help identify suitable targets, and a smart material that changes shape when heated to launch the darts, which then stick to the trees. They can also perch on tree branches like birds to collect data themselves, acting as mobile sensors.
The researchers have tested their drones at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) and on trees at Imperial’s Silwood Park Campus.
The drones are currently controlled by people: using control units, the researchers watch through the camera lens to select target trees and shoot the darts. The next step is to make the drones autonomous, so that researchers can test how they fare in denser forest environments without human guidance.
Co-author Andre Farhina, of the Department of Aeronautics, said: “There are plenty of challenges to be addressed before the drones can be regularly used in forests, like achieving a careful balance between human input and automated tasks so that they can be used safely while remaining adaptable to unpredictable environments.”
Co-author Dr Salua Hamaza, also of the Department of Aeronautics, said: “We aim to introduce new design and control strategies to allow drones to effectively operate in forested environments. Exploiting smart mechanisms and new sensing techniques we can off-load the on-board computation, and create platforms that are energy-efficient and better performing.”
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Drones to patrol forests
- Industry 4.0 and the Automotive Industryon August 20, 2021 at 7:21 am
From forest fire prevention and border patrol to tax inspection and counterterrorism, the applications for aerial drones are multiplying daily. Now, there is a new use for them: transporting car parts ...
- The Taliban Has Captured a Hoard of American-Made Weapons. Now What?on August 19, 2021 at 8:38 pm
Other Taliban-captured equipment includes military drones, helicopters ... Taliban fighters equipped with M16A4 rifles patrol along a street in Kabul on August 17, 2021. Among those weapons ...
- WATCH: Drone Video Shows Car Catching Fire in Gender Reveal Gone Wrongon August 18, 2021 at 3:58 pm
Drone video ... (Video courtesy of U.S. Forest Service) 2018-11-26T20:55:30.000Z The trend of fiery gender reveals isn’t limited to Australia. In 2018, a U.S. Border Patrol Agent, Dennis Dickey ...
- UPDATE: San Angelo Man Among the Missing of the Junction Floodingon August 17, 2021 at 6:07 am
Boats, helicopters and a drone are being used to patrol the Llano River from where the RV park was ... Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas Search and Rescue, Eldorado VFD, London ...
- PG&E inspected power lines two weeks before the Fly Fire started in Plumas Countyon August 16, 2021 at 3:52 pm
PG&E crews inspected company equipment and vegetation near the site where the Fly Fire in the Sierra Nevada began in late July, but never made note of a white fir that later toppled onto utility lines ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Drones to patrol forests
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- The Superior National Forest is closing the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness effective immediatelyon August 21, 2021 at 11:07 am
The Superior National Forest is closing the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, effective Saturday August 21, 2021, due to active and increasing fire activity, extreme drought, and limited ...
- This Buncombe County forest keeps it all in the family, sustainablyon August 21, 2021 at 2:00 am
Elaine Friebele carries on the family’s legacy of conservation by restoring the health of the forest owned by her ancestors.
- Two major fires burn in Sequoia forest, mandatory evacuations issued near Lake Isabellaon August 19, 2021 at 1:25 pm
Two wildfires are searing what's left of the Sequoia National Forest, working their way through the burn scars of recent forest fires and forcing evacuations near Lake Isabella.
- Algeria: The forest fires that led to an artist's lynchingon August 18, 2021 at 5:18 pm
The BBC's Kayleen Devlin tells a harrowing story of how the life of a young artist who came to help fight deadly forest fires in Algeria was ended by a mob. On 9 August, Algeria experienced the worst ...
- Report: Everton monitoring Matty Longstaffon August 18, 2021 at 5:45 am
Everton are reportedly interested in Matty Longstaff with Newcastle United open to loaning out the 21-year-old this season.