Imagine a disaster like Fukushima, with collapsed buildings, high voltage shore lines, from the rubble of any shares. The drone is the ideal tool for mapping the disaster, check if there are any survivors before risking the life of a rescue team. A difficult environment which a drone in many unlikely to come back around. Loss of control by the operator, fume, indoorrecognition, nothing brings fear to Gimball, the drone which Swiss researchers of Flyability, a drone “unbreakable”, which just received the grand prix “Drones for Good” awarded for the first time by the United Arab Emirates are working.
Gimball, a drone who’s not afraid to go to the contact
The adventure continues for Flyability, the spinoff of the EPFL, the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne. Patrick Thévoz, its founder has received from the hands of the prince Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum a cheque for $ 1 million for this project. It is the winner of the first ‘UAE Drones for Good Awards’, an initiative of the United Arab Emirates to distinguish the best projects of unmanned aerial vehicles related to humanitarian, ecological. Flyability wins international award $ 1 million while the price reserved for national projects returned to ‘Wadi Drones’ project which aims to identify fauna and the flora of the desert.
The idea of the Gimball is disarmingly simple: rather than to barder a drone of sensors and a big computing power to try to avoid obstacles despite a difficult environment, including darkness, smoke, why not let it hit the walls…
The Gimball is actually surrounded by a sphere GEODESIC semi rigid, wholly comparable to a toy item. As a beetle which struck a wall without much damage before continuing its flight in another direction, the Gilmbal may encounter obstacles without crashing and longer to continue its path. Beyond the idea, knowledge make developed at EPFL and operated successfully by Flyability, it is that the drone is not attached to this protective ball, but has two axes of rotations that allow it to always stay vertical and therefore be able to continue its flight without falling. Even dropped in the middle of a forest, the drone can hold its course, even if it strikes multiple trunk tree in path. Icing on the cake, you can even let the drone in a crowd without fear that it doesn’t hurt anyone. An approach which is still valid for drones of a very limited weight.
A new success for the Swiss start-up that collected the award in 2014. Rest to the startup developing indoor geolocation capabilities of its UAV, including give it the ability to return to its starting point.
“‘UAE Drones for Good Award’ Announces Winner of US$1 Million International Prize”, Press release, February 7, 2015