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Amazonas Drones - How are Drones Being Used to Sniff the Amazon Rainforest?

A modern way of autonomous control

The innovative ways drones are being used to collect information that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to gather are as impressive as they are revolutionary. Drone technology has been utilized for high-precision mapping and studying the health of whales without physical contact, demonstrating the vast potential across various fields. The deployment of drones in the Amazon Rainforest, enabled by a collaboration with Amazonas State University (UEA), has provided invaluable insights into the ecosystem. Utilizing drone technology to measure the Amazon’s air by “sniffing” the environment using specially designed sensors has offered unprecedented understanding around the Rainforest's ecosystem. Supported by the Harvard Climate Change Solutions Fund, this work has profound implications for understanding environmental changes and their impacts.

The success with drone technology has led to the deployment of a fleet of drones to collect air samples at different heights, potentially aiding in the creation of an early warning system for potential changes to the Rainforest. Discussions on these insights will take place at the upcoming DJI AirWorks event, where experts will delve into the transformative possibilities of drone technology in environmental research.

In environmental research, drones have opened up new avenues for data collection. Equipped with sampler boxes instead of cameras, drones can fly around and collect samples effectively, offering flexibility and enabling diverse applications. The standardization of drone models like the M600 has facilitated the development of interchangeable sensor boxes, enhancing the efficiency and versatility of data collection.

Traditional methods in atmospheric sciences such as airplanes, tethered balloons, satellites, and towers have limitations, particularly in challenging terrains like the Amazon Rainforest. Tower-based data collection, while valuable, is limited in scope and unable to provide comprehensive insights across diverse ecosystems. Tethered balloons, once considered promising, have been largely abandoned due to practical difficulties in control and flight. In contrast, drones offer a flexible and efficient alternative, capable of navigating complex terrains and providing valuable data for environmental research.

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