12 Sep - 2023

Imagine it: flying robots whizzing through the humid and dense tropical rainforest and mapping the biodiversity and climate of 100 hectares of rainforest in less than 24 hours.

Researcher Salua Hamaza and students Liming Zheng and Seamus McGinley of TU Delft's Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, have developed a lightweight drone that can perch on tree branches. With on board a custom-made audio sensor weighing just 2 grams that can record a wide range of unique sounds - from birds active during the day to nocturnal bats.

Together with researchers from ETH Zurich and Aarhus University, they participated in the semi-finals of the global XPRIZE Rainforest competition held in Singapore on 9 June. The team now knows that they have secured a spot in the finals in Borneo with their lightweight drone, competing for a prize of as much as $10 million.

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