Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Robotic research takes flight

04.05.2007
Robotic planes that help farmers monitor animal health, crop conditions and water use are flying out of the University of Nottingham’s newest overseas research centre.

The Geospatial Research Centre has been officially launched at its base in Christchurch, New Zealand, this month. The Centre is a joint venture between the Universities of Nottingham and Canterbury, and the Canterbury Development Corporation, and carries out research and consultancy in the fields of positioning and orientation, with particular expertise in sensor integration, image analysis, data visualisation and electronics. It bridges the gap between n academia and industry, spinning out a range of innovative new technologies to be used in areas including agriculture and forestry, environmental monitoring and management, transport and health.

Geospatial research covers the gathering and interpretation of geographic information through the use of new technologies such as satellite navigation devices. The unmanned robotic planes currently being developed could potentially be used in a range of applications from farming to search and rescue to atmospheric monitoring.

The director of the new centre is Dr David Park, formerly of the University of Nottingham’s Institute of Engineering Surveying and Space Geodesy (IESSG), moved to Christchurch with four colleagues in 2006. The new Geospatial Research Centre was established in the University of Canterbury’s New Zealand ICT Innovation Institute — part of the College of Engineering.

The New Zealand government has given NZ$2m, with regional funding providing an extra NZ$900,000. It is thought the centre will be self-supporting by the end of 2009 — with funding from industry, project-related research grants, IP licensing and PhD supervision fees.

By being based on New Zealand’s South Island, researchers can take advantage of the huge range of habitats available at close hand.

“The range of physical environments that are available for research on the South Island within a few hours of Christchurch in terms of oceans , rain forest, glaciers, mountains, cliffs and agriculture of all types, makes it all very exciting,” said Dr Park. ”We can work in partnership with domain specific users to develop technologies for a particular application or market and can then very easily test them in the real world, in realistic conditions.”

The centre is already trailing an unmanned aircraft fitted with a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, imaging systems and communications facilities. Technology on board collates and feeds information to a central computer.

“The idea is to develop a model that would retail for about NZ$10,000 [£3,500] and which would be no more than a couple of metres in size and packed with electronics and sensor devices,” added Dr Park.

Other innovative research being carried out in the centre includes the development of miniaturised, low cost positioning sensors; exploring how the latest range of Digital Signal Processing hardware can be used for real time image analysis; and the evaluation of new communications and positioning systems that do not require any traditional electronic hardware.

Representatives from the university travelled to New Zealand for the centre’s official launch, including Professor of Geodesy Alan Dodson and Professor Terry Moore.

Professor Moore, Director of the IESSG, said: “We are delighted to join our colleagues in New Zealand for the launch of this exciting new venture. The GRC will offer great opportunities for collaborative research between the IESSG and the GRC and with a broad range of new potential partners in New Zealand. Through the GRC we will encourage staff and student exchange between Nottingham and Christchurch.”

Nottingham is the UK's most pioneering university for the internationalisation of education and its strategy and approach has been rewarded with the Queen's Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2006. Few other universities in the world can boast the scale of overseas investment that has been undertaken by The University of Nottingham. It was the first UK university to establish a campus overseas, in Malaysia, and made history again when it became the world's first university to be granted a licence to open an overseas campus on mainland China, which was officially opened in Ningbo in February 2006.

The new Geospatial Research Centre represents an alternative element in the University's internationalisation strategy. Unlike its overseas campuses, the new facility will offer no formal teaching, with a small amount of PhD supervision and will concentrate instead on the commercialisation of its world-changing research.

For more information on the Geospatial Research Centre visit www.grcnz.com

Emma Thorne | alfa
Further information:
http://www.grcnz.com
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/public-affairs/press-releases/index.phtml?menu=pressreleases&code=ROBO-82/07&create_date=03-may-2007

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Raiding the rape field
23.05.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht New technique reveals details of forest fire recovery
17.05.2018 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>