He knew from his regular job with the Crown-owned Scion that Canterbury University’s (UC) engineering school was doing clever things with remote infra-red sensors. He wondered whether a sensor fixed to a drone could be used to take some of the slog out of firefighting.
The radiant heat in organic soil matter can burn undetected for weeks at hundreds of degrees Celsius, meaning firefighters can’t leave a site nearly as quickly as they would like.
The university’s spatial engineering research centre has created Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones.
Detecting the heat is fairly straightforward – the sensors can register lukewarm water from about 30 metres.
Now the UC engineers are working on ways to transfer the recorded images and data. As it is now, their UAV keeps video and GPS co-ordinates so it can be reviewed later.