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Crash-proof ‘drone in a cage’ flies away with $1 million prize
By Thomas Page, for CNN
8:18 AM EST, Mon February 9, 2015
The "GimBall" has just won the $1 million first prize in the "Drones for Good" competition. It is designed to access hard-to-reach areas such as burning buildings and nuclear disaster sites. Its robust outer structure means it is the first "collision-tolerant" drone in the world, according to is creators -- Swiss company Flyability. As well as negotiating tight spaces it can roll along ceilings and floors, map its surroundings and beam images back to emergency services. Flip through the gallery to see the semi finalists from the competition.
The Transition UAV by researchers at Germany's Quantum Systems, is designed as an agricultural solution. The drone evaluates crop conditions, monitoring their health and devising a fertilization strategy. It then feeds back this information to farmers, who will know exactly the right information about of water and nutrition their crop requires for optimal growth. Its name derives from the drone's propellers. The drone lifts off like a helicopter, but once in the air the front propellers pivot forward 90 degrees, the drone then flying like a conventional airplane. This improves efficiency and increases its range greatly, the engineers claiming it can travel up to 500km.
The Waterfly drone operates in a team to scan lakes and rivers for traces of cyanobacteria, harmful to both humans and wildlife. The drone, created by a team of MIT researchers, first identifies certain colors on the water via spectral analysis, before lowering itself onto the surface to collect a sample. This is scanned by the drone before the analytic data is uploaded to the web automatically.