RSMAS has officially launched the Helicopter Observation Platform (HOP), which is a platform centered around an Airbus Helicopters H125 helicopter. The helicopter was custom built for research needs and has the ability to be customized with a range of sensors and equipment depending on the mission. The unique aspects of this aircraft give unprecedented ability to hover and fly close to ocean surface where it can collect a variety of data related to atmospheric processes. In addition, it will be a valuable tool for use in Exploration Science for surveying remote areas, getting aerial perspectives on field sites and covering large areas efficiently. For more information, please click here.
This past semester students in the Exploration Science Technology and Media class were treated to a one day AUV (autonomous unmanned vehicle a.k.a – drones) workshop held at UM’s Abess Center. The workshop leader was Benoit Duvernueil, who has been using AUVs and ROVs for his work in South America looking for archaeological sites in the western Amazon rainforest. Benoit is a technology startup entrepreneur and brought his expertise to some of the students in the class. After giving a nice overview of AUVs including some of the FAA laws, the students had a chance to test fly micro drones to get a feel for how these systems work in addition to using a very realistic flight simulator. They were also given the opportunity to build an DIY drone modeled after the popular DJI Phantom drones. In addition, Benoit brought a number of references, tools, and other drone and ROV systems to the workshop so students could get a first hand look at this technology. While this was just a one day workshop, next year, the plan is to have a more comprehensive 3 day workshop that will include some field time with this technology.