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A low cost way for assessing bird risk hazards in power lines: Fixed-wing small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Mulero Pazmany, MC, Negro, J and Ferrer, M (2013) A low cost way for assessing bird risk hazards in power lines: Fixed-wing small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems, 2 (1). pp. 5-15. ISSN 2291-3467

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Abstract

Accidents on power lines are one of the most important causes of man-induced mortality for raptors and soaring birds. The factors that condition the hazard have been extensively studied, and currently there are a variety of technical solutions available to miti- gate the risk. Most of the resources in conservation projects to reduce avian mortality now are invested in fieldwork to monitor the lines, which diverts the resources available to install actual corrective measures to mitigate bird hazard. Little progress has been achieved in the methodology to characterize line risk, which is an expensive, tedious, and time- consuming task. In this work we describe the use of low cost small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) equipped with on-board cameras for power line surveillance. As a case study, we characterized four power lines, geo-referenced every pylon in selected portions, and assessed their hazard for birds. We compare the effectiveness of two variants of the sUAS method for data acquisition and two methods of plane control. This work provides evidence of the usefulness of sUAS as a fast, inexpensive, and practical tool in conservation biology, adding to their already known applications in wildlife monitoring, the environmental impact assessment of infrastructures.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: NRC Research Press
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2018 11:48
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2018 11:48
DOI or Identification number: 10.1139/juvs-2013-0012
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/8118

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