Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG-SEP 2018

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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71 August/September 2018 unmanned systems inside ENGINEERING. PRACTICE. POLICY. D rones are increasingly taking to the air across the globe, but at the end of the day, they still have to come down to Earth once their fuel runs out or their batteries run down. Now scientists are designing an autonomous unmanned aircraft powered by the wind that can glide like an al- batross when breezes are strong and cruise like a sailboat when they are weak. OCEAN MONITORING IS VITAL Increasing the range that unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) can travel could expand their uses into a number of potentially critical appli- cations. For instance, the oceans, which cover roughly 70 percent of Earth's surface, remain vastly under-monitored because of the limited endurance of aircraft and watercraft. Specif ically, a better understanding of the Southern Ocean—the waters surround- ing Antarctica, consisting of the southern- most parts of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans—could yield vital clues regarding that region's role in climate change. "Climate change is one of the most press- ing challenges of our time. It is driven by hu- man activities that release greenhouse gases, in particular carbon dioxide, into the atmo- sphere," said Gabriel Bousquet, a postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Scientists estimate that one in 10 molecules of the carbon dioxide we gener- ate is trapped by the Southern Ocean. So un- derstanding and preparing for the impact of climate change requires understanding pre- cisely how the Southern Ocean traps carbon dioxide, and perhaps even more importantly paying attention to whether it continues to do so with the same efficiency." "Unfortunately, the Southern Ocean is very inhospitable and hard to reach, and besides it by Charles Q. Choi Inspired by both sailboats and the wandering albatross the wind-powered UNAv can theoretically travel thousands of miles. WIND BORNE By the Numbers 40 miles per hour in 11.5 miles per hour winds Unlimited The potential range of the UNAv 23 miles per hour in 6.5 miles per hour winds 23 mph ∞ 40 mph

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