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Seen & Heard: Spotlight on UAVs

March 30, 2020  - By

“Seen & Heard” is a monthly feature of GPS World magazine, traveling the world to capture interesting and unusual news stories involving the GNSS/PNT industry. This month, we focus on UAVs.

Screenshot: Quaternium video

Screenshot: Quaternium video

Non-stop flight in Valencia

On Feb. 3, drone company Quaternium broke its own record for long flight time with a hybrid-fuel electric drone. The Quaternium HYBRiX UAV took off at 08:52 a.m. in Valencia, Spain, and landed at 17:02 p.m., after performing a stationary flight of 8 hours and 10 minutes. The new endurance record for non-stop flight time was accomplished with an experimental version of the company’s HYBRiX 2.1 drone, which carries 25 kilograms of maximum take-off weight.

Westpac Little Ripper. (Photo: The Ripper Group/SLSA)

Westpac Little Ripper. (Photo: The Ripper Group/SLSA)

Dye-dropping drones

A company is providing drones that can drop sea- marker dye into ocean surf, allowing lifeguards on shore to spot riptides. The drones have been developed by The Ripper Group, reports the Brisbane Times. A fleet of 51 drones is being deployed across 25 beaches on the Gold and Sunshine coasts in Australia, as well as farther north. The drones also could be used to rapidly assess situations such as people swimming or climbing on rocks. Plus, the company has deployed drones to detect sharks and crocodiles.

Photo: pressdigital/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: pressdigital/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Going bananas

Agricultural diseases cause significant crop losses worldwide. One widespread disease is yellow Sigatoka, which limits banana cultivation. Scientists at Brazil’s Federal University of Ceara have used high-resolution aerial images from an Inspire 1 UAV and machine learning to monitor yellow Sigatoka in banana crops, identifying and classifying disease symptoms such as leaf spots. The system also provides humidity and temperature data that can help assess and manage the disease.

Rescue from above

A blind man who spent 33 hours lost in February in the freezing Connecticut woods was rescued thanks to a police drone. Richard Doty, 62, was trapped in the woods near his Enfield home after he became disoriented, Enfield police said on Facebook. Temperatures had dipped as low as 9° F. Officers borrowed a drone and a skilled pilot from police in neighboring Vernon. Within 30 minutes of lift-off, the drone spotted Doty about 100 yards into the woods, hidden from view down an embankment.

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.