The Malaysian government is the latest to turn to drone technology to protect its people and help in emergency situations. The country’s Ministry for Science, Technology and Innovation teamed up with the state-run Remote Sensing Agency Malaysia, Multimedia University and Unmanned Systems Technology to develop a drone to monitor flooding.
The drone has been developed to monitor floods and collect data, which will be used to guide the work of relief operations when emergencies strike. This culmination of the project has been years in the making, with research starting back in 2008. Prototypes first took to the air in 2010 and the project has since clocked up some 180 hours of air time. The fixed-wing drone’s power train can keep it in the air for up to four hours at a time, with the engine simply running on petrol. The $710,000 piece of kit can reach altitudes of up to 3000 metres and can be controlled within a 100km radius, facilitating easy access to flood hurt areas.
Thanks to the use of remote sensing technology, the device will “relay real-time data on the ground which will be shared with the relevant agencies,” said Datuk Seri Madius Tangau, the country’s Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, when the drone was officially launched.
The drone will supplement the flood monitoring the Malaysian government does through satellite imagery, adding in the detailed data missing from the bigger picture. other potential uses of the craft include monitoring fire hotspots, illegal logging and farms.