Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Italian Flying Robot to Study Environment

(ANSA) - Rome, September 26 - Italy is set to launch one of its first robotic airships this week, helping biologists tackle pollution and safeguard the environment .

The airship, or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), will take to the skies on Thursday, carrying technical instruments for gauging air and water quality. Soil composition will also be measured, using an on-board infrared camera .
"This innovative tool will allow us to sample things like fine dust particles, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide in the air," said Ernesto Landi, president of the National Order of Biologists. "It can also be used in emergency situations, for example, for analyzing toxic clouds after industrial accidents." The airship is controlled by a central computer and is able to transmit the data it gathers back to the ground control station immediately .

According to Massimiliano Lega, the director of the UAV platform, the lack of a human pilot makes aerobots "ideal for missions into areas that create access problems for humans or heavier, more difficult-to-manoeuvre vessels, such as airplanes or helicopters." The robotic UAV rises vertically from the ground, needing no landing or take-off pad. It is silent and causes no pollution as it uses two electric motors. These also allow it to hover in one place in mid-air at any height .
One of the UAV's most important characteristics is its ability to move up and down to different heights without causing air disturbances that mix up the particles and taint the accuracy of analyses .

The 12-meter craft is the first all-Italian development of aerobotics with a non-military purpose.

ANSA.it - News in English - Flying 'robot' to help environment



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