While attending the PDXElectroHax meet up I was told about a project that was getting underway to do with building a UAV to help protect rhinos in South Africa from poachers. There was going to be a kind of kick-off meeting on Saturday and would I be interested in attending it?
Autonomous flying bots is one of my ultimate goals, some day, for robotics; I used to build and fly micro electric helicopters. Anyway, I was definitely curious so went to the meeting to learn more.
The meeting was at ADX again and there had already been a preliminary UAV build the month before to test the waters for possible entry into an international UAV wildlife challenge. In fact, there had been two UAVs built by two different teams. The meeting was to discuss how to move forward with an official entry into the challenge.
The challenge is called “The Wildlife UAV Challenge” and you can read more about the details at: http://www.wcuavc.com/problem.html
The crux of the competition is to build a flying vehicle that can help rangers detect and locate poachers at Kruger National Park. In essence a flying vehicle with a camera, image recognition software, navigation and ground base communications. The challenge is to come up with a design that is inexpensive and can be put together from off-the-shelf parts by the park rangers themselves.
In the photo you can partially see one of the prototype planes the teams have already built.
There will be another meeting on Jan 5th.
I’ll post more as things progress.