Researchers over at the Utah State University have been busy sending slingshot-like UAVs into the air, and the AggieAir Flying Circus is the platform of choice. This is a full-service aerial photography lab which comes in the form of an unmanned drone aircraft, where it will be used to map the environment. There are no runways to construct, as it can be launched via bungee. According to Utah Water Research Laboratory’s Mac McKee (his company is the one behind the AggieAir Flying Circus), such a UAV makes it full well possible to measure habitats that have been lost to invasive plant species, check out different fish habitats, in addition to mapping vegetation. There is just one thing about the bungee launcher that bothers me, I cannot seem to get the image of an Angry Bird being sent out from there. Check out a video of the AggieAir Flying Circus in action after the jump.
The next generation of the AggieAir Flying Circus is said to debut later this summer, and routes will be pre-programmed and loaded onto the drone before it takes to the skies. Underneath the hood lies an autopilot, GPS navigation, and an internal measurement unit which will help keep track of pitch and yaw to enable it to arrive at the destination safe and sound, while its two cameras get the job done when airborne.