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March 4, 2013 Tech uses UAVs to scan for transportation hazards LUCAS WILDER Lode Writer While the word “drone” often comes with a negative connotation due to the military’s use of this technology for surveillance, Michigan Tech students and faculty are working to change that view. The Intelligent Robotics Laboratory (IRL) housed in the EERC and the Michigan Tech Research Institute in Ann Arbor are working together with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to create a system of drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), that will aid in transportation maintenance. Director of the IRL, Dr. Timothy Havens, explains the premise of the project in greater detail. “We are currently funded by Michigan Department of Transportation to investigate the role that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can play in infrastructure inspection, including bridge and culvert inspection and traffic monitoring,” Havens said. “The project personnel consists of scientists from both the Michigan Tech Research Institute in Ann Arbor and the main Michigan Tech campus in Houghton.” Third-year electrical and computer engineering student Josh Manela is one of the students working under Havens here at Tech. “My project that I’m working on right now is looking at different types of small onboard computers and microcontrollers such as Arduinos or Raspberry Pis,” Manela said. News: Olympics may be over, but U.P. pride and determination stands strong 3 News: Michigan Tech is helping to design an unmanned aerial vehicle to help inspect bridges, culverts and monitor traffic. Photo by Maxwell Curtis The UAVs map the environment they fly over in a few different ways, using both regular cameras and a laser radar system. “My lab, the Intelligent Robotics Lab, 4 International Club newsletter positively impacts diversity at Tech Pulse: is developing a sensor-fused system that uses LIDAR (laser radar), video cameras and inertial sensors that are able to collect three-dimensional image information about 7 High temperatures and high altitudes: “Adventure Spring Break” Opinion: a scene and the accompanying software algorithms that process the data into an accurate and usable form,” Havens said. “Our 10 On-campus students should receive expanded swipe card access Continued on page 5 Sports: 13 Tech hosts only doubleheader of the GLIAC Tournament


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