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Remote-Controlled Planes Used For Wildlife Conservation 48

Posted by samzenpus
from the conservation-on-a-budget dept.
Damien1972 writes "Conservationists have converted a remote-controlled plane into a potent tool for conservation. The drone — an HK Bixler equipped with cameras, sensors and GPS — has been used to map deforestation, count orangutans and elephants, and get a bird's eye view of hard-to-access forest areas. During their 4 days of testing in Sumatra, the drone flew 30 missions without a single crash. A mission, which typically lasts about 25 minutes, can cover 50 hectares. The drone, full equipped, costs less than $2,000."

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Remote-Controlled Planes Used For Wildlife Conservation

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  • Pigeons (Score:5, Funny)

    by PatPending (953482) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @09:07PM (#39142857)
    Let's just hope there aren't any pigeon [popsci.com] hunters nearby.
    • Hmm, pigeon hunters--say, weren't they also responsible for shooting-down RFC 1149 [ietf.org]?
    • Re:Pigeons (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @09:46PM (#39143113) Homepage Journal
      I know that this is the wrong discussion for mentioning this, but the activists in that case were a bunch of misguided weenies desperately seeking validation. We can expect to see more and more misguided tattle-tales wasting their time when they could be tackling real issues like police brutality.

      I say this because, as somebody who likes to cull the populations of vermin species with the aid of airguns and small-caliber rifles, pigeons are like flies. So are wild rabbits. And common squirrels and chipmunks will also likely not become extinct anytime soon. Those hunters would have saved an awful lot of cars from being shit on. Hell, my friends and I would sit with BB guns in the bushes in a small backyard, pretending to be hunters, dropping the pigeons(and the occasional crow) from the power line above. we filled our neighbors' backyards full of bird corpses.

      Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine had a good piece to say about it. Since I can't find it, I'll paraphrase it for you all:

      " When you go into the desert with a rifle, you have respect for the cacti. [wikipedia.org] They stand tall and proud, some of them have been there for over 100 years. They're like the wise old men of the desert, you respect 'em. But jackrabbits, man, the motherfuckers are like flies. You can shoot 'em all day long. "

      • by Xest (935314)

        "pigeons are like flies"

        I hear the same used to be said about passenger pidgeons in the 19th century with their 3bn+ bird flocks.

        Didn't turn out so well though.

      • by dollar99 (922389)
        Not only off topic, but referencing the wrong article. [slashdot.org]
    • Re:Pigeons (Score:4, Insightful)

      by identity0 (77976) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @10:55PM (#39143625) Journal

      For those who missed it, a few days ago we had a Huge discussion [slashdot.org] on that topic, about the rights and wrongs of UAVs, surveilance, etc.

      Now I wonder how long it will be before some asshat uses UAVs for completely illegal or unethical things like stalking, attacking people, drug smuggling, etc. and gets the government cracking down on the whole concept like Megaupload and torrent sites.

      I know Sea Shepherd are using UAVs for their anti-whale hunts now, and some people consider them terrorists. How long before some political group decides to use UAVs to intimidate opponents, or some Muslim kids playing with UAVs gets labeled as "terrorists scouting out targets"?

  • ArduPilot (Score:5, Informative)

    by Change (101897) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @09:28PM (#39142995)
    They're using the DIYDrones [diydrones.com] ArduPilot [diydrones.com], the image in the article shows the ArduPilot Mission Planner [google.com] software. For a few hundred dollars you can turn an RC aircraft into an autonomous craft, it's a very nifty project.
    • They're using the DIYDrones [diydrones.com] ArduPilot [diydrones.com], the image in the article shows the ArduPilot Mission Planner [google.com] software. For a few hundred dollars you can turn an RC aircraft into an autonomous craft, it's a very nifty project.

      I'll have to get some of that! I've got an RC plane I don't use much because I don't like paying for repairs when I inevitably crash it.

  • This kind of setup would be perfect for the Fukushima nuclear disaster. If the radiation isn't going to interfere with the electronics then this could be used to fly over the reactors that are unapproachable or even view-able by humans due to the extremely high concentrations of radioactivity.
  • More drones (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Thursday February 23, 2012 @09:29PM (#39142999)
    Yay another drone story. I mean there was the drones getting approved by the FAA, then the drone that got shot down, then this drone, and drones everywhere. You'd think it was almost as if someone was pushing some sort of agenda. And drones for the environment. See? Aren't drones good? Now go back to your room and behave, because we're watching...
    • by PatPending (953482) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @09:35PM (#39143039)
      Steady-on, Dunbal; no need to drone-on about it!
    • Re:More drones (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mcrbids (148650) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @10:32PM (#39143453) Journal

      I guess it's popular to link anything and everything to a conspiracy theory, and that's a commentary on our culture. Like anything, drones are a tool. There's nothing to indicate that these environmentallists using drones to survey wildlife has anything to do with da gubbmint watching you, simply that the confluence of cheap, high quality GPS units, computing, and electronics is now making possible applications that were simply infeasible in times past. This type of progress is due to the advancement of technology, not the advancement of a gubbmint agenda.

      Perhaps you missed the part that not only is this drone unmanned, it's unpiloted. Unlike R/C planes which have a limited, set range, this model has waypoints that it uses GPS location to navigate to, extending the range well beyond that possible with normal radio control.

      To me, it's a bit silly to call a model airplane with some electronics taped onto it a "drone" but ever since the military's UAV "drone" project, it's become a buzzword.

    • This was an iDrone; notice how it didn't crash.

      No need to worry: Windows DRN will be out soon . . . :)

      hawk

    • by bobbutts (927504)
      Suddenly this technology exists where there was nothing before, so of course when there's an uptick of use and associated news it's time to break out the tin-foil hat. Obviously these guys were part of a large government/media/. scheme to brainwash you into jubilant acceptance of your new flying overlords.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 23, 2012 @10:17PM (#39143373)

    Isn't a drone part of a bagpipe (along with a chanter?)
    why are Scotsmen flying above tropical rain forests? And why are they playing bagpipes?

    And the FAA has nothing to do with bagpipe regulation, at least in the US. Perhaps in Scotland or Brazil the laws are different.

  • Drones are good. They allow us to kill little brown people from a distance. Bonus points if the little brown people are Muslims. I love drones.

    But now drones are being used by liberal hippie enviro-commie scum! They're bad people! And only bad people do bad things! That must mean drones are bad!

    Aaargh! My head hurts! I'd say "cognitive dissonance" except Rush doesn't like me using big words! What should I do? WHAT SHOULD I --

    [pop]

    • Drones are good. They allow us to kill little brown people from a distance. Bonus points if the little brown people are Muslims. I love drones.

      But now drones are being used by liberal hippie enviro-commie scum! They're bad people! And only bad people do bad things! That must mean drones are bad!

      Aaargh! My head hurts! I'd say "cognitive dissonance" except Rush doesn't like me using big words! What should I do? WHAT SHOULD I --

      [pop]

      Are you an idiot or just very good at looking like one? I'm going to ignore the racist remarks because they are obviously just a troll. But, "enviro-commie scum"? Oh, and lets just throw the phrase "cognitive dissonance" in there just because it sounds cool, but from your remarks it is apparent there is no dissonance at all in your mind. I will explain your lack of dissonance, because you're slow. You say a) drones are good because they kill little brown people. Therefore it can be inferred that you think

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's nice to see this finally surpassing the NAVCOM (Propeller-based opensource drone platform for those who don't know, has had similar capabilities since 2006) in smoothness. Is it as accurate? Good to see people using stuff like this.

  • *ducks* (get it? ;)

  • by D4C5CE (578304) on Friday February 24, 2012 @03:22AM (#39144769)
    ...aided in no small part by the fortunate fact that Stingers are still rare even among privacy-conscious orangutans. ;-)

Put no trust in cryptic comments.

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