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Scientists recruit aerial drones to combat illegal logging

May 21, 2012
“Drones provide us with images in real time and can fly the same routes repeatedly within a short space of time,”
- Lian Pin Koh, an assistant professor of Applied Ecology and Conservation at ETH Zurich

A new aerial surveillance system to protect forests and endangered species in remote parts of the world is being pioneered by a pair of ecologists in Switzerland. The researchers have designed and built their own flying drone that can capture evidence of illegal activity on film.

The drone flies autonomously along a pre-programmed route via a Google Map interface. Koh only takes manual control of the drone when landing in small spaces to avoid obstacles. The model aeroplane can stay in the air for twenty-five minutes and cover an area of fifty hectares during a single flight.

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