UKZN Scientists Undergo Training to Fly Unmanned Helicopter
Professor Glen Bright and Dr Riaan Stopforth were in the United States recently undergoing training to fly an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
Mechanical Engineering bought a SR100 UAV helicopter from Rotomotion in the USA, which will be used to assist emergency services in search and rescue operations.
The UAV, capable of flying with a 9kg payload, at a top speed of 40 knots, is a fully autonomous system, allowing it to be instructed to fly to different GPS locations.
A semi-autonomous option is also available, to allow the UAV pilots to fly the helicopter manually while an on-board control system of provides stability for the craft, should there be unstable environmental conditions.
A WEB camera and an FLIR camera can be connected to the platform to navigate and inspect difficult to reach areas.
The UAV is powered by batteries, making it more environmentally friendly and less noisy, allowing it, for example, to surprise poachers or to fly noiselessly above residential areas. Other useful applications include being able to inspect difficult to reach areas such as towers, power lines, high buildings and marshy areas.
The Rotomotion SR100 will be used for demonstrations in lectures and to the public and will form the basis for Mechatronic and Robotics assignments as part of Mechanical Engineering’s teaching and learning curriculum.
It will also be used as a platform for Mechatronic Engineering postgraduate research to be conducted where further modules will be integrated with the flight control system for flight optimisation, search and rescue applications.- NdabaOnline