Robots with Thermal Sensors are Taking on Climate Change

These Robots with Thermal Sensors are Taking on Climate Change

December 22, 2016

Remotely piloted aircraft systems. Autonomous sailing drones. Underwater robots. No, I’m not describing the cast of characters in the next Star Trek movie. In fact, these robots with thermal cameras are humanity’s next line of defense in tracking and addressing the devastating effects of climate change, and they all use thermal sensors to get the job done.

So lets take a look at the new bad boys fighting climate change:

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Drone Equipped With a Thermal Camera

Drones have been on the scene for a while now, with applications for everything from tracking firefighters’ efforts, to delivering pizza. Is it any wonder then, that drones have a multitude of environmental uses as well?

One such use is more effective monitoring of planned burns (burning dry areas under controlled conditions to reduce the spread of brushfires). The same drones are also being used for tracking endangered species, identifying poachers, and monitoring coastal erosion.

Autonomous Sailing Drones

An autonomous sail boat collects ocean data in the Dutch Harbor, AK. (Image: Saildrone)
An autonomous sail boat collects ocean data in the Dutch Harbor, AK. (Image: Saildrone)

These Autonomous Sailing Drones are being used to monitor temperatures and pH levels of ocean water, measuring ocean water acidification to determine how much CO2 is being absorbed. Scientists have discovered that acidification harms many of the oceans creatures and their habitats, dissolving corals reefs and the hard outer shells of many invertebrates. They also monitor fish populations to determine where overfishing has occurred, this data can then be used to effect policy changes regarding fishing quotas.

Underwater Robots

Autonomous underwater vehicles identify and kill invasive starfish at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. (Image: QUT)
Autonomous underwater vehicles ID and kill invasive starfish at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. (Image: QUT)

Underwater Robots are being used to restore biodiversity in oceans by hunting invasive species like Lionfish and Crown-Of-Thorns Starfish, many of which have experienced population explosions due to warmer water conditions and overfishing of predatory species.

It is now believed by many, that human industrial activity has had the single most devastating effect on our planets ecosystem since the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs. I think it’s safe to say that the number one concern on our minds today is fighting climate change, and finding ways to optimize our resources, while reducing and even reversing damage to the environment. Tech industry leaders like Opgal are working tirelessly to that end, combining state of the art thermal sensors with some of the coolest bots to join the robot wars since Google’s award winning humanoid robot, “SCHAFT” hit the scene, with decidedly hopeful results.


brushfires climate change drone environment poaching robot sensor Thermal cameras