A project carried out by a group of researchers from the Institute of Standards and Technology in collaboration with a team from the University of Colorado Boulder has resulted in the design and creation of a new type of drone equipped with a series of laser sensors with which it would be able to scan and map atmospheric plumes of gases over kilometer distances.
Before continuing to tell you, as those responsible for creating this type of drone warn, that it has been equipped with a laser that is safe for the eyes, something that is vital in a device that has been designed to work. completely autonomously. The functionality of the drone is very simple, it goes through using the laser to map and detect areas, in real time, with polluting gases.
Thanks to the use of laser sensors, this drone will be able to detect areas with polluting gases
The main idea of a project like this is to achieve identify possible leaks very quickly In oil and gas fields, study the mixture of car emissions and other gases at the boundary between the Earth's surface and a layer of the atmosphere at low levels and even detect pollutants or chemical threats and their sources.
Considering the history of the team in charge of the development of this project, apparently already in 2014 they managed to test a first prototype with quite striking results, which pale before those obtained in the last test thanks to the fact that the drone now had improvements in power or hardware by equipping an improved telescope or a light retroreflector.
According to the paper published by the research team, the results were surprising since the system is currently capable of detecting gas signatures in the near-infrared band of the spectrum. Having achieved this milestone, the researchers are now working to achieve extend this coverage to the mid-infrared This would significantly increase the number of detectable gases and allow applications such as the detection of chemical hazards and possible threats.