Aren’t we all skeptical about drones? The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) can take off from any place and once they’re in the air they can easily make detailed videos of what happens on earth. Of course there’s regulation, but still there is a lot of – rightful – skepticism going on about drones versus privacy. However, some people could use a bit less privacy: 3D printed drones could fight illegal animal poachers.
In South Africa, more than a thousand rhinos and elephants living in specials parks have been poached illegally for their precious horns. Poachers are often members of criminal organizations, and authorities have a hard time stopping them. Technology, however, is about to immobilize these poachers: 3D printed drones could be used to catch them.
A challenge has been set up for students, hobbyists and engineers, where they are asked to come up with the best possible drone that can be used in the fight against illegal poachers. This challenge is called Wildlife Conservation Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Challenge (wcUAVc).
A total of 137 teams from 29 countries are were invited to participate, such as Dutch UAS from The Netherlands and Dacted from South Africa. The goal is to enhance their designs and make 3D printed drones for relatively low costs. Using such drones, illegal poachers could easier be detected.
These drones are equipped with cameras and sensors, so they can find out details about the amount of poachers in the park, their location as well as the amount of weapons they carry and the best possible route to catch them before they make it to the animals. wcUAVc is currently the largest and most distributed aircraft research effort in the world and the goal is to use technology for the greater good. In order to raise money for their project, the team behind wcUAVc has put their project on Indiegogo, where they hope to raise 100,000 dollars to save animals.
Image credits: Earth Touch.