Micro-plane Can Do Autonomous Surveys

PARIS, Sept. 1 (UPI) — An inexpensive unmanned aircraft system developed with the European Space Agency can provide quick monitoring of land areas or disaster zones, researchers say.

German company MAVinci has developed sat-nav guided autonomous micro-air vehicles with a wingspan of less than 7 feet, an ESA release said Wednesday.

“At the moment, the remote-sensing market uses mainly manned aeroplanes,” Johanna Born, CEO of MAVinci, says, “but they are expensive and not always available.”

“Our MAVs are cost-efficient, available at short notice and easy to use for surveillance of development areas, construction sites, disaster zones and waste disposal sites, just to mention a few,” Born said.

An autopilot controls the small aircraft from takeoff to landing and uses sat-nav to follow a planned track, triggering a camera to image the target area.

The MAV has already been used to help fight soil erosion in Spain, surveying erosion canyons in Andalusia to improve understanding of erosion dynamics to aid local farmers, the ESA said.

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