Can We Use Drones To Measure Post-Disaster Air Quality?December 26, 2017
After 52,999 tragic wildfires in America alone this year, two European companies are working together to find a solution to clear the air after a disaster.
Tekever Autonomous Systems and Photonics21, a think-tank specializing in the study of light direction have teamed up to launch a rapid response drone system.
The project being funded by Photonics for $3.6 million will include creating a fixed-wing drone with a novel photonics sensor that can detect and measure toxic fumes.
According to the press release, “It works by beaming the sampled air in a ‘multipass cell’ to increase the total optical path length for exposure with a super-continuum laser, allowing the tiniest concentrations of complex, toxic gas mixtures to be detected.”
The data will be useful in the aftermath of disasters such as volcanic eruptions, chemical fires, and wildfires as the drone can fly through tough environments to provide real-time air quality data, which can be used for urgent decision-making during deployment of emergency services and evacuations.
The unmanned aerial vehicle, which can cover an 80 kilometre radius at speeds up to 120 kilometres per hour will also be able to map out areas that are too dangerous for humans to be in.
“For the first time, a drone reaching altitudes of up to 4,000 metres will be able to detect fine traces of air molecules that are dangerous to our health with a state-of-the-art laser sensor,” said Tekever Project Coordinator, André Oliveira.
A prototype is expected to launch by November 2018.