The University of Southampton has launched a new student-led research programme aimed at finding ways to improve efficiency and extend the battery life of drones used to monitor remote areas,media reported. The project was created by Dr. Patricia Turner, a former alumnus and technology entrepreneur, Dr. Ewan Kirk.
The Turner-Kirk UAV Research Support Program will fund the university’s engineering team of three four-year students. Engineering students at the university developed the world’s first 3D-printed drone in 2011. The task that the current student team needs to accomplish is to find new ways to cheaply adjust existing drones to minimize energy demand, improving efficiency and battery life per charge.
The results of these student labors will help remotely monitor the impact of climate change in difficult-to-reach environments, or track poaching and assess natural disasters.
“In the future, drones are likely to continuously monitor remote and adverse environments around the world and feed real-time data back to environmental agencies so that we can track our global ecosystems in real time,” says Dr Kirk. The application of technology is essential to mitigate environmental change and protect endangered animals, and universities are hotbeds of ideas and innovation that can play an important role in the development of the technologies needed. “
The team is expected to conduct a field trip to Guatemala with the University of Bristol in 2020 to monitor active volcanoes using newly developed technology.