Strathclyde students launch environmental drone project
A drone fitted with a thermal camera to monitor buildings' energy efficiency is being developed by students at the University of Strathclyde.
The team of three students, from the University's Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, aim to commercialise the concept, which is designed to give a comprehensive assessment of energy use.
The partners in the project – Americo Pino, Ken Brooksbank, and Kai Pham – have named their start-up endeavour Drone Wrangler and are currently exploring the diversity and viability of innovative drone technology to create environmental value across industries such as energy, agriculture and construction.
Americo said: "Energy efficiency is important in buildings for environmental and economic reasons but some equipment used to measure it is expensive and doesn't always give a full reading. Drones can make these types of inspections more comprehensive and thermal imaging technology takes this a step further.
"Our drone lifts off automatically and can link to around 17 satellites at a time, so it's very precise in the images it takes and very safe to fly.
"We're using this project as a proof of concept exercise and are working with Strathclyde's Enterprise Hub in setting up a company called Drone Wrangler. We've also had a lot of support from the University's Estates Services, particularly Ian McKay in Building Services and Energy and Environmental Manager Dean Drobot."
On a recent test flight, the drone surveyed four buildings on Strathclyde's campus – the Wolfson, Architecture, John Anderson and Sir William Duncan buildings – and a fifth building at the University's playing fields at Stepps. Each assessment took around 30 minutes to conduct and, as a safety precaution, the flight took place at 3am, offering the team ideal flight conditions. The students are currently analysing the data.
Further information on Drone Wrangler can be seen at http://www.dronewrangler.uk