The concept of drones may send a mixed message to the public, but it is likely that domestic uses of drones outnumbers military deployments. From agricultural and forest management concerns to Hollywood movie making, drones are proving,in a gadget-oriented world, to be an irresistible addition to many activities.
And now commercial drone creator FlyCam UAV, which specializes in drones for work in television and feature films, has teamed up with US Nuclear Corp to create drones that detect particles that contain alpha, beta, gamma and neutron radiation. The uses, the companies say, include detection of leaks from nuclear power plants and chemical analysis of smoke plumes above industrial accidents or residential fire scenes. The latter is possible, as the drones for radiation detection include a gas collection option that tests for the presence of chlorine, biological particulates and aerosols, such as anthrax and nerve gas.
The fully outfitted detection drone is suitable for radiological, chemical and biological detection missions, the companies said. Future upgrades for the DroneSensor package will also detect methane and diesel fumes.
The Cypher 6 is a commercial grade hexacopter and the NEO an all-weather commercial co-axial oxtocopter that has a 19 pound payload and can fly up to 30 minutes. Because of its design, the NEO is able to fly in rain and wind gusts up to 35 knots, says US Nuclear.
The DroneRad with the Cypher 6 and NEO UAV configurations acquires and relays data to the operator in real-time. The data can be tagged with GPS coordinates and stored on-board for post-flight download and viewing or it can transmit data to a base station wirelessly for live monitoring. The data, the companies said, consists of a series of measurements of radioactive intensity tagged with GPS data for color coded display on a map. The data can be displayed as a full gamma spectrum, allowing for the identification of radioactive isotopes.
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