Drones: Use of Robotics in Investigation, Management and Exploration


Drones have been introduced post 9/11 to largely target terrorist groups across the world. Apart from military operations, unmanned aircrafts are also being considered for efficient campus safety regulations, traffic signal management or managing concerts.

Drones are also being introduced in various designs and shapes. The latest aircraft that takes a form of a 'jelly fish' has been designed by Leif Ristroph, a postdoctoral researcher at New York University.

The four-winged tiny robot flies in the air imitating a jellyfish's movements in the water. It has wings pointing downwards instead of sideward. So, when it flaps its wings to and fro, the drone automatically moves up in the air.

Ristroph said that built-in sensors help insects stay afloat in the air. Similar techniques need to be installed in a drone that would derive inspiration from insect wings. But motors, sensors, and batteries add weight, which hampers creation of smaller drones.

"I wanted to design something that had stability without the stability-sensor needs." Ristroph said. This drone is stable and "it would automatically right itself so that it was always flying up...without the need for extra sensors," Gizmodo reports.

Ristroph said that the robot's size make it easier for it to travel in small spaces. "Any time you want a pair of eyes where it's not practical to have a human go, you could possibly use one of these flyers."

Building drones not as expensive as it sounds. "What's cool is you can actually build these flying things yourself," Ristroph told LiveScience. "All the components I used to make this, they cost about $15 and they're available on hobby airplane websites."

The drone was presented at a fluid dynamics conference in Pittsburgh and published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

Experts predict drones to become an $82 billion industry by 2025. Increasing number of American colleges are offering degree programs in drone technology including Nevada Colleges, Kansas State University, the University of North Dakota and Salina and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. The programs are also in consideration at schools in Alaska, Florida, and Arizona.

Stephen Myers, 47-year-old resident of Naples, FL, has enrolled in an online degree course on drone's sensors and electronics at the Unmanned Vehicle University in Arizona. He hopes to start a commercial business in drones.

"I think that something a lot of people don't understand is that when people think of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), they think of drones spying on them," Myers said. "What they don't realize or what they don't understand are all the other applications," WTSP reports.

Farmers, wildlife service, photographers, filmmakers and even corporate firms like Amazon and food chains like Dominos have expressed interest in drones.

"There is almost no industry that you can not think of that can benefit from UAVs," said Myers.

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