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Applications

TARGETED USERS AND THEIR NEEDS

UAVs or drones are used in a number of applications worldwide. For the Silent Flyer one of the applications are where a silent and non-obtrusive device is needed.  These are, for example, in wildlife monitoring and surveillance and research.

USES AND LIMITATIONS OF EXISTING DRONES

Drones (Unmanned air vehicles (UAVs)) are evolving into important tools, not only for military covert operations, but also policing (citizen survey and safety) and wildlife conservation/surveillance.  Nevertheless, their widespread implementation is restrained by the noise and obtrusive appearance limitations of commercialized technologies in either flight range or usability.

 

Unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), colloquially called drones, are defined as “an unmanned aircraft or ship that can navigate autonomously, without human control or beyond the line of sight” [1].  UAVs are nowadays evolving into important tools in different fields. However, their widespread implementation is restrained by the noise and obtrusive appearance limitations of commercialized technologies. They tend to live up to their names in that they emit a constant buzzing noise when in operation, created by several rotors and electric parts as well as conventional motors, with both fixed wing and rotorcraft UAVs. UAVs use propellers at a high rate of revolution, which are inherently noisy, highly annoying for the citizens (as confirmed my recent NASA studies) and harmful [2].  For this reason, new EU regulations are proposing noise caps on UAV [3].  They are also quite obtrusive and their operation in the sky is obvious to bystanders. The UAVs has been successfully applied for:

  1. Pest bird population control at airports
    Birds pose a real threat to aircraft, particularly in the area of the airport and its neighborhood (75% to 95% of bird collisions with civil aircraft occur at the airport or close to it, during take-off and landing).  Both large birds and flocks of smaller birds can be very dangerous to planes, either by impacting the windscreen or being sucked into the engines.  This not only causes significant damage to the plane and high economic losses because of plane shutdown but can also create hazardous and unsafe flying conditions if critical damage occurs.
  2. Pest bird deterrent in agriculture
    Many avian species damage crops during sowing, seedling and ripening stages, leading to high economic losses.  Birds reduce crop yields by consuming seeds or damaging fruit which leaves it susceptible to infection and requiring it to be harvested before it is fully ripe, resulting in inferior products.  The problem is especially difficult at large farms, due to the large size of cultivated area.
  3. Wildlife observation, monitoring and control
    The observation of wildlife in its natural habitat is very important for scientists and researches for the understanding, monitoring and protection of endangered species and animal populations.  To capture the animals’ real behavior when they do not feel being observed is essential, not only for scientific purposes, but also to create appealing broadcasting and multimedia materials for educational and entertainment purposes.
  4. Providing evidence in the fight against crime
    Fighting environmental crime, drug traffic, and other type of crimes requires the provision of visual evidence to court. In many cases, this is very difficult to obtain due to the combination of the inaccessibility of the crime site and the presence of observers who may detect police officers, border patrols, coastguards, forest guards, rural guards and other police bodies, preventing them from taking video image of a crime that is being committed.

“HOLY GRAIL” FOR UAVs

For successful embracing of UAVs in surveillance and research operations by a variety of private and government institutions, a rotor-less operation combined with maneuverability and durability in challenging environments is needed. This will also cause minimum chances of personal injury from elimination of open rotors and propellers.  It should also provide ease of launch and imbibing vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) ability.  In addition, a truly unobtrusive appearance such as that of a flying bird can ensure operation at lower altitudes without standing out as an obtrusive element in the sky, which will not interfere with natural habitats of wildlife (during wildlife photography/surveillance) or get detected prematurely during police or military operations.  In addition, such bio-form UAVs should have no or very little humming noise area.  Any continuous “humming noise” > 85 dB is known to cause permanent hearing disability while <70 dB is equivalent to the noise of an air conditioner or shower.