Autonomous helicopters to save rainforests from weeds
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) have completed trial flights of two of its Project ResQu helicopters near Cairns, locating weeds like the dreaded ‘purple plague’ (Miconia calvescens) in a short span of time and more reliably than ever. The autonomous helicopters are developed to save Australia’s rare and precious rainforests, like the iconic Daintree by detecting the dangerous weed zones efficiently. The robot helicopters offer a safer and more convenient way of mapping weeds in difficult terrains which currently is performed by weed spotters walking through the forest or flying above in manned helicopters.
Referred with bizarre names such as ‘Hotel Golf’, the robot helicopters equipped with radar and special cameras used sophisticated imaging technology to locate several Miconia plants and other threating weeds that were not spotted by other methods of surveillance. Once detected, the dreaded plant can easily be removed from the rainforest, thus protecting the native flora and animals of the place.
The helicopters are compact enough to be carried in the back of a van and are easy to use and operate under controlled conditions with built-in failsafe mechanisms. According to robotics researcher Dr Torsten Merz, Project ResQu is a two-year, $7M project led by the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation (ARCAA) in a collaborative project between the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
Via: Techly AU