3D Printed Solar UAV to Catch Poachers in Africa

UAV as we all know is a short form for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, they are small aircrafts that can be either remotely controlled from a ground station or fly on a pre-planned flight plan. We have seen UAV’s being used for a lot of different things like tracking terrorists and air surveillance of areas. This drone technology is also being used as the latest weapon in the battle against animal poaching.

3D Printed Solar UAV to Catch Poachers in Africa

A Tinker, who goes by the name of Toby Lankford, has decided to take the fight against these animal poachers to the next level by creating a fully 3D printed aerial project called Icarus 3.0. The Ariel drone being created will not just be one of the first 3d printed done but also be powered by solar panels and hydrogen engine. Mr. Lankford has also participated in this year’s edition of the Hackaday Prize. The prize works as an incentive for innovators to show off their creative skills and solve serious problems at the same time.

Icarus 3.0 will consists a 3D printed airframe and will be the longest flying plane under 5kg. Once the design is ready you could download the simplest form of the UAV from thingiverse as the developer plans to target the poaching issue with the power of Opensource.

Talking about himself and this open source project Toby Lankford said, “I work with civilian UAS and ground robotics across several fields from survey to anti-poaching. I like working in open sourced projects and contributing to overcome development and application challenges. We live completely off grid for over three years and our hackerspace and all we develop is off grid as well.”

3D Printed Solar UAV to Catch Poachers in Africa

He added that the 3D printed UAV will need to be printed using dual extruder 3d printers as design includes hinges which will also be printed in one go. The UAV Icarus will be capable of flying for 12 hours nonstop; it could be operation from a permanent or a temporary ground station. It will include antenna tracking, communications, and capability for swarm control. Mr. Lankford plans to add addition features like Arial camera’s with nigh vision capability, custom image recognition software and TCP/IP cloud control which will be added to the 3.0 version as its specifically made to track poachers.

Some other important features include.

A. Long Range >200 km
B. Long Endurance >180 minutes
C. Payload >6 kg
D. Custom Image Recognition Software
E. Fire and Forget autonomous mission from launch to recovery
F. TCP/IP Cloud Control for observation or control from anywhere in the world
G. Simultaneous Mission Capable
F. Fully 3D printed airframe

Taking about theIcarus 3.0 and its unique capabilities Mr. Lankford said, “We are able to use high end camera modules for thermal, multispectral, and visible light images and video,” says Lankford. “All camera modules are digitally connected and the plane of course communicates through a long range mesh network or GSM module, providing a live encrypted link. I wanted to focus this year on promoting drones as a tool for social and environmental good. Poaching is an issue that presented itself as the most urgent. We are at extreme risk of driving rhinos and elephants into extinction in this decade. We hope that we can be part of that answer with our anti-poaching cloud swarm UAV system.”

The full list of components for Icarus 3.0 is as follows:

  • 2× Odroid U3Unbuntu Linux based embedded processor
  • 1× Range Video RVJET Flying WingAir Frame
  • 2× Piksi RTK GPScentimeter accurate RTK GPS
  • 1× Cyclops C UAVAir Frame
  • 2× PixhawkAPAutopilot
  • 2× DroneDeploy Cloud Communications
  • Mobile Network communications
  • 2× Iridium 9252
  • Satellite Modem Communications
  • 2× Machine Vision USB Camera
  • Multispectral Machine Vision for ID Software
  • 2× Thermal Imaging Camera
  • Machine Vision for Night Ops
  • 2× RFID (yet to be decided)

3D Printed Solar UAV to Catch Poachers in Africa

We firmly hope that Mr. Lankford wins this year’s Hackaday Prize and make us the 3d printing community proud of his achievements. Till that lets start 3d printing the 3D Printed Solar UAV !!

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