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The design thinking process of building a drone for disaster-zones, MIT research

eLearningworld News

Engineers at MIT have designed a drone that can work without interruption for more than five days. At the same time as it stays connected, and can continue gathering data as well as provide temporary telecommunication, even if it is in a disaster zone where communication-problems goes with the territory. However, these vehicles do already exist, but the engineers at MIT have with new design managed to lower the cost dramatically, while the drone can hover for longer durations to provide wide-ranging communications support. The team was led by R. John Hansman, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics; and Warren Hoburg, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics that in collaboration with MIT-students began the design thinking process. The “Lab” was organised as a two- or three-semester course where MIT students design a vehicle after fixed specifications, and then to build and test their design. Solar power, in the main project, was after a while rejected as a power source since it obviously would work in the summer, but not in the winter especially not far from the equator. The solution to keep the drone in the air for more than five days instead became a thin glider with a 24-foot wingspan powered by a 5-horsepower gasoline engine. The optimization of the design was made in a software tool developed by Hoburg. Besides adapted to work in disaster zones the drone also could work for environmental monitoring etc. Source: MIT News

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