Solid Concepts, a provider of rapid prototyping and custom manufacturing services, is partnering with the Wildlife Conservation UAV Challenge (wcUAVc) for an international competition that is seeking students from around the globe to create inexpensive unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
According to Solid Concepts, the wcUAVc is trying to counteract poaching in national parks in Africa with UAVs that seek out hot spots of human activity and warn national park rangers.
Solid Concepts says it and the wcUAVc hope 3D printing will provide an affordable manufacturing option for UAVs designed by teams participating in the challenge. The company notes the key to the challenge is creating a UAV that can fly for long periods of time, is easy to use and does not require heavy maintenance.
In addition, Solid Concepts reports that after consulting with researchers who have flown UAVs in Africa in the past, it is also clear that a UAV with easily interchangeable parts would be useful, as access to spare parts is not realistic out in the bushland of Africa’s national wildlife reserves.