Save the rhinos! To combat poaching, the FH Aachen has developed a flying robot that tracks down poachers with thermal imaging cameras.
More expensive than gold – on the black market, one kilogram of rhinoceros horn fetches an incredible 50,000 Euro. No wonder, then, that over 1000 rhinos are being killed every year in South Africa and the rhino population is being decimated to a dangerously low level. In the war against the smuggler gangs, the FH Aachen is adopting a high-tech approach: unmanned aerial vehicles are monitoring large game reserves and tracking humans, animals and vehicles in real time, according to the developer, Patrick Wiesen, FH graduate student at the MASKOR Institute. First, the areas where the poachers are active are mapped in 3D, and then activities on the ground are registered using thermal imaging cameras. The system alerts the national park rangers in real time, enabling them to prevent poaching.
The newly developed system was deployed for the first time in a one-week trial in December 2018. And the FH is continuing R&D into the software and hardware of the drone in an international collaboration with colleagues from Namibia and South Africa. Scientists working together to combat poaching and protect wildlife!