France: An unmanned aircraft system guided by navigation satellite has been developed by German company MAVinci to provide rapid monitoring of land areas and disaster zones. The company’s headquarters are located at European Space Agency’s (ESA) Business Incubation Center. The aircraft uses autonomous micro-air vehicles (MAVs) with a wingspan of less than two metres, to inspect land areas.
“At the moment, the remote-sensing market uses mainly manned aeroplanes,” explained Johanna Born, CEO, MAVinci, “but they are expensive and not always available. Our MAVs are cost-efficient, available at short notice and easy to use for surveillance of development areas, construction sites, disaster zones and waste disposal sites, just to mention a few. They can carry visual and thermal cameras or other customer-specific measuring equipment.”
ESA Flight Dynamics Engineer Michael Flegel, said, “While a satellite might use the measured direction of the Sun, Earth or star, the MAV aircraft uses the local magnetic field of direction. Obtaining meaningful information from the data is an art and the expertise can be applied to both satellites and spacecraft alike.”
The planes have already helped Spanish farmers in Andalusia to improve their understanding of the dynamics of land erosion and to find solutions.