UC Vision Researcher and Professor in Computer Science Richard Green as well as Professor Dan Zhao in Mechanical Engineering are collaborating on a project using drones which will change the way drones are used in different industries, over and above current uses such as surveying.
The research is focusing on UAVs using precision tools in changing dynamic environments, such as outdoors with hazards such as wind. The project is investigating drones which can be used around hazardous structures such as power pylons or in the construction and forestry industries.
The biggest challenge will be coordinating different research fields into one project. They will be looking at turbulent flow rotor-to-rotor interactions prediction, precise control of a hovering UAV, force trajectory control, and robust estimate of a UAV’s position and orientation in a wide range of dynamic environments
Others involved in the project include Senior Research Engineer and UAV expert Kelvin Barnsdale as well as a team of NZ experts in UAV, data and aerodynamics research. They will also be collaborating with international researchers and UAV manufacturers and users.
The research will benefit different industries where there are jobs that are inaccessible and hazardous for humans. This includes arboriculture, silviculture, electricity infrastructure industry, civil construction etc. The research team are also working with Maori stakeholders and government and regulation bodies.
The benefits will be making hazardous tasks safer, easier and more cost-effective and efficient.
They recently won a $10 million grant from MBIE to undertake this research over five years.