AtlantikSolar has a potential to vastly improve the prospects of finding a missing person during search and rescues, as it can carry on flying for days without human intervention charging itself during the day and using the stored energy during the night. It has already participated in search and rescue missions within the EU-funded research projects SHERPA and ICARUS. It would also be able to carry out industrial inspections and meteorological observations very efficiently at low cost.
AtlantikSolar has been developed by ETH in Zürich using funding from EU projects ICARUS and SHERPA. Both projects work with different search and rescue scenarios, earthquakes and alpine rescues, using both autonomous ground vehicles and UAVs.
The SHERPA consortium with 10 partners is led by University of Bologna and receives EU funding of up to 8.5 million over 4 years. SHERPA is working on finding and rescuing missing persons in challenging conditions in an Alpine environment and is using both autonomous ground and aerial vehicles. The ICARUS project works with a major earth quake scenario inspired by the earth quakes in Haiti and Aquila and the flooding in Pakistan. It is led by Ecole Royale Militaire – Koninlijke Militaire School of Beligum and has EU funding of 12.5 million euro split between 27 partners.
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More info: http://www.atlantiksolar.ethz.ch/?p=670
SHERPA project: http://www.sherpa-project.eu/sherpa/
ICARUS project: http://www.fp7-icarus.eu/