Eagleray UAS Scans for Poachers – Drones Information


Written by Darshini Babu Ganesh

The information contained in this article has been provided to Mr. Mark Page and Dr. Ronald Pandolfi provided

“It is certainly our responsibility to do everything in our power to create a planet that is not only home to us but all of the people on earth,” said Sir David Attenborough, an environmental protection officer and natural historian. Humans make many decisions in a day that can have serious consequences for wildlife. Purchase of a pack of non-reusable water bottles.

Inappropriately discard it. Driving across beaches during the sea turtle breeding season. Buying ivory jewelry without thinking about its questionable sources. The last note brings us to a major threat to conservation – poaching.

There are international and national laws protecting endangered species, but with tremendous profits, organized criminal networks break these laws killing elephants, rhinos, leopards, tigers, sea turtles, and many other endangered and critically endangered species. Badly equipped and often incapacitated, rangers devoted to protecting these animals are also gunned down.

The fight against poaching must be fought in the field. In contrast to narcotics, for which the supply of raw materials from field crops is almost unlimited and user demand is limited; For endangered species, there is a very limited supply in the field and an almost infinite demand.

To stop poaching, the cost of criminal networks must be increased so that they no longer send soldiers into the field.

As field soldiers in international criminal networks, poachers are well trained, equipped and supported. Dr. Ronald Pandolfi, CTO of Kashmir-Robotics said, “Poachers are members of criminal networks, armed and armed with weapons and communications equipment valued at thousands of dollars. You are backed by a network of surveillance resources, including human spies to find and kill. and a network of processors and human traffickers to quickly transfer the evidence into distribution channels. “Stopping on the spot has far-reaching positive effects on people locally and internationally. “Poachers are instructed by the network to engage in criminal activity in order to maximize revenues. Much of this is used to support rioting, terrorist acts and major military conflicts.” Tackling such a calculated organization requires dedication and determination.

The Kashmir World Foundation (KwF) is an organization that uses technology to help protect wildlife and combat poaching. KwF works with world leaders in technology and nature conservation to design, develop and deploy unmanned autonomous systems or drones for the protection and control of poaching worldwide. Dr. Pandolfi describes the mechanisms behind poaching that make KwF’s approach to combating poaching the most effective.

“Unlike insurgents or terrorists, criminal networks work mainly for profit. In large parts of the world where criminal networks lured endangered species, they also traded narcotics, weapons, nuclear materials and humans. If they were used in the field it would stop poaching and interfere with their other operations. “This is KwF’s proactive approach: engaging poachers in the field to stop the killing of endangered species before it happens.

Using drones to protect wildlife is innovative in itself, but the Kashmir World Foundation goes a step further. The design of their anti-poaching drones is unique, a Blended Wing Body (BWB) called Eagle Ray. Image from the BWB webinar with Mr. Mark Page and KwF

In a webinar about the BWB airplane with the KwF, Mark Page, Vice President of DZYNE Technologies and Senior Team Advisor at KwF, explains the uniqueness of the BWB.

Page’s interest in UAVs has a long history. “My first interest in UAVs came from testing a radio controlled BWB research model with a span of 17 feet. The model showed the stabilization of a BWB with low natural stability. This was part of a three-year, NASA-funded BWB research program at McDonnell Douglas. I did this program with Dr. Bob Liebeck (now at Boeing). I later designed racing cars at Swift Engineering in San Clemente, California. I thought to myself: “The carbon work in racing is exquisite, we have our own wind tunnel and I have blended wing know-how. Why not get into the UAV business? That led to the founding of the KillerBee BWB UAV family. From that point on, I got excited about UAVs. ”

“Since DZYNE Technologies was founded in 2012, we’ve flown UAVs between 3 and 3,000 pounds in size. Some are launched with tubes, catapults, and net nets. Some use normal runways, and our ROTORwing VTOL UAV takes off and lands like a helicopter and then flies on the wing. Recently, our role in the development of the Beta Technologies ALIA-250 eVTOL was revealed. This is a manned eVTOL aircraft weighing 6,000 pounds designed for the delivery of organs, cargo, and urban air mobility (UAM).

With his interest in UAVs and vast experience, Page had the opportunity to meet with the Kashmir World Foundation through a mutual friend: Mark Moore, who is now at Uber Elevate. “I was then introduced to Princess Aliyah, the founder and CEO of KwF, heard her vision, saw her commitment and was thrilled,” says Page.

The inspiration for the Eagle Ray came from Page’s BWB work many years ago, particularly its Killer Bee design that caught the attention of Dr. Pandolfi attracted. From there, Pandolfi and his colleague Sean Bain, an aerospace engineer at KwF, began sketching ideas, doing BWB experiments, and designing the foundation for Eagle Ray. Since then, the Eagle Ray has evolved, with Page adding the latest in wing technology and “other BWB secret sauce,” but it stays close to the original Pandolfi and Bain design. The aircraft is named after the Eagle Ray, a sleek cousin of the shark that evolved into an all-wing design that glides unrecognizable through the ocean like Eagle Ray airplanes glide through the ocean

Eagle Ray

Dr. Pandolfi’s commitment to in-flight wildlife protection and technology began many years before the Kashmir World Foundation was established. “As a boy I loved building and flying model airplanes. In those days there were no sensors or computers for the controls on board, so a pilot was needed on site to relay commands to the aircraft by radio, ”he says. “I was familiar with some of the early BWB aircraft like the 1917 Stout Batwing designed by William Bushnell Stout, grandfather of KwF senior consultant Dennis Bushnell. These aircraft showed improved endurance and range, but were difficult for pilots to control. Shortly after flight control systems became available, I started working on BWB unmanned aerial vehicles. ”

“My interest in conservation, especially technology-enhanced counter-poaching, began in the early 1990s when I met the director of the National Zoo to discuss issues with the highest priority for endangered species. I organized a group of scientists, engineers, and field operators – the Technology Assisted Counter Poaching Network – who were interested in protecting endangered species. Together, we applied the most appropriate technologies to identify, track, characterize and involve people on the ground. After meeting Princess Aliyah and understanding her grander strategy, we agreed that the TACP network would become her technical advisors. Princess Aliyah appointed me Chief Technology Officer for Kashmir Robotics with the mandate to build the world’s most powerful networks of unmanned aircraft, ground rovers and sea gliders at a price that would enable the protection of endangered species in large areas of habitat. ”

“There are relatively few aircraft designers who are capable of building a high-performance, mixed-wing aircraft. Mark Page is the best among them, ”he says. And so the team slowly came together and the pieces of the puzzle fell together.

The blended wing body differs from a tube-and-wing in many ways. As the name suggests, BWBs have the wing mixed with the body. There is no clear distinction between the body and the wings; They are mixed.

To understand how the BWB works, it is important to understand how a typical aircraft works. All aircraft have to balance four forces: the weight is balanced by lift, and the thrust has to balance the drag.

Wings direct the wind down to create lift. The deflection of air to lift creates lift due to the lift, while air friction with the surface of the aircraft creates what is known as “parasite drag”. These two resistor forms are split 50/50 for optimal efficiency. Motors are needed to overcome air resistance with forward thrust. To achieve low drag, aircraft must be smooth and have a minimal surface (low parasite drag) with a wide wingspan (low drag due to lift).

Aircraft efficiency is defined as the ratio of lift to drag (L / D). A higher L / D means that the aircraft needs less thrust from the engines, so less fuel is used. The BWB achieves a very high L / D by reducing the surface area needed to hold the load and lift it. By converting the body into a thick and wide airfoil profile, the outer wing can be made smaller in area, and the wide central body increases the overall span and reduces the aerodynamic drag due to the lift. The distribution of the mass of the BWB is also beneficial as the load is distributed across the span. It sounds like it’s adding more weight at first, but the opposite happens. The wing is lighter when it is just below the weight it has to carry.

By mixing a traditional tube and wing into a frisbee and wing, the BWB reduces drag and weight while providing a large payload volume inside. BWBs also shift the tails to the wing tips where they add to the wing area and wingspan. “With blended wings, we sweep the wing tips aft to act as tails. The traditional elevator and ailerons become “elevators,” says Page.

“Regarding the anti-poaching mission, efficiency is the gift that is given over and over again. You can get more stamina than a tube and wing with less structure and less control. The large payload volume makes it easy to host the payloads necessary to combat poaching. The underside of the center body offers plenty of space to place multiple sensors side by side that require a downward field of view. A frisbee does this much better than a tube. ”

In an interview, Page also mentions Dr. Pandolfi’s leadership role in creating a diverse team. “I will say he has gathered respected experts and people who are just enthusiastic about the matter. Ron is also a great researcher. He finds BWB papers from around the world that I have never seen before.

This shows his interest in opening the circle as much as possible. “With a product that counteracts poaching around the world, it is important to have a diverse team of conservationists who understand their animals’ environment and the dynamics between people around them, as well as technologists who put those needs into specialized UAVs can implement and AI programs.

This diverse team also includes interns, students who want to apply their skills, be it in artificial intelligence or in aerospace engineering, to the mission of KwF. Joey Licht, one of the longest-serving interns on the Eagle Ray team, is an aspiring computer science and math student at MIT. “As a major in computer science and mathematics, I have no experience in aerospace engineering. I really enjoyed learning a completely new and interesting technical skill, ”says Licht. “I’m currently in charge of optimizing the EagleRay’s wing stack. [but] I originally applied to work on the AI ​​team. job[ing] EagleRay’s design allowed me to see both the hardware and software that are included in these drones. ”

“I think interns take the pressure off full-time employees. Although they initially spent time bringing us up to speed, we can have five tasks between us that would have taken much longer without us. In the long term, getting young people to embrace using STEM for the good of society is also very important, and that will have lasting effects, says Sean Sewell, another senior intern on the Eagle Ray team who has a new major in aerospace Space engineering at Stanford is a university. “My current job with the other interns is to do what Mark Page and Dr. Pandolfi designed to optimize design [and] My favorite part was learning to use the OpenVSP software which we can use to model the drone and test how it would fly under certain conditions.

This is my first time using design software and it’s so interesting to experiment with the drone that uses it. “Internships are a place of growth, and KwF is quick to encourage interns to explore the various dimensions of mission. The team also includes Max Acebal, an aspiring graduate student at Columbia University studying computer engineering, Akhila Pasunoori, who is pursuing her Masters in computer engineering with George Mason, and Shreya Santhanagopalan, a class of 2024 CS at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

What numbers apply to the Eagle Ray design? The gross weight is limited to 45 pounds for easy transportation by car or van. It’s simple, inexpensive, and quiet battery operated. Eagle Ray can carry up to 15 pounds of payload for 4 hours or fly twice as long with a smaller payload.

In a final statement, Page claims, “It’s a new world. The new stuff comes from small groups of passionate people. They do it because the big boys aren’t. So make sure Princess Aliyah drives this train and knows how far he can go. ”


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