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 Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

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: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>