Octocopter with cameras will allow foresters to monitor fires and floods

Dr. Sorin Popescu, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist in College Station, is working with a team to build an octocopter — an unmanned air vehicle — complete with a camera stabilization platform, autopilot and cameras with multispectral capabilities.

He said there is a growing interest in unmanned air vehicles or unmanned air systems, called UAVs, that can be used in many areas, from mapping floods to fires and monitoring them in real time from low altitudes without exposing aircraft or people to dangerous situations. Also, it helps with repeated data collection tailored to specific needs and monitoring in many fields, including forestry.

Popescu’s UAV program, a three-year project started about two years ago, is funded by two sources: a National Science Foundation grant and a NASA grant, both of which support hardware and graduate students.

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