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Research and Development of Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Scientific Missions in Antarctica

The research and development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that can be used for various scientific missions, such as geomagnetic surveys and meteorological observations in Antarctica, has been conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR) in Japan. The author has developed an autonomous UAV controller (in 2006), and a UAV with a maximum range of more than 500 km has also been recently developed. These UAVs flew over King George Island in Antarctica in January 2011 to conduct an aerial geomagnetic survey around Bransfield Basin. This was done as part of the collaborative research of the NIPR, Korean Polar Research Institute (KOPRI), and Instituto Antartico Chileno (INACH). The survey flights are scheduled to be run again in 2012.

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The autonomous UAV developed by the the NIPR and Kyushu University (at King George Island, Antarctica)

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The autonomous UAV developed by Kyushu University (at King George Island, Antarctica)

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Ground station for flight data monitoring (at King George Island, Antarctica)


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The autonomous UAVs waiting for take-off at the Professor Julio Escudero Base (Chile) in Antarctica

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Penguins appear at the seashore near Professor Julio Escudero Base (Chile) in Antarctica


Flight Dynamics Laboratory,
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Faculty of Engineering, Kyushu University
Associate Professor Shin'ichiro Higashino
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