Dissipation of fog via an autonomous fleet of drones
Darko SavicJan 12, 2021
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This project is envisioned to save people that live in fog-prone areas from not seeing sunlight for weeks on end during the winter/fog season. The problem is further explained in this brainstorming session. By solving it, we reduce the area’s pollution, winter heating cost, and increase the general wellbeing of people living there.
The idea is to build a fleet of large, autonomous drones that fly in synchronized formation. They would be stacked one above the other and used as a large drill to blow holes in the thick layer of fog. Once the initial hole is established it would be expanded in all directions by moving the entire fleet sideways. This would let sunshine reach the ground below and start heating it up. The heat would eventually dissipate the remaining layer of fog. If for example the drones are positioned 5 meters above one another, it would take a fleet of 41 to penetrate a 200-meter thick layer of fog.
Suitable drones already exist and are generally used for agricultural spraying or carrying cargo. The internet is full of drone-building communities and youtube tutorials. The building components are readily available. Suitable drones can be built for a few thousand bucks per unit.
The fleet would be used in optimal conditions when there is low wind and the sky is clear above the layer of fog. The electronic components would need to be watertight. This is actually the norm for agricultural spraying drones. The drones would need to be equipped with sonar and centimeter-resolution RTK GPS modules so that they don’t bump into each other in the thick fog.
The drones would autonomously recharge their batteries in one of two ways. Either by landing on an induction charging pad or something like this. When the entire fleet is recharged, it would resume operations as long as the conditions remain favorable.
Ultimately, a scout drone would analyze the layer of fog, then the entire swarm would deal with it autonomously, based on the most suitable strategy for the particular situation (size, density, temperature, wind, etc).
As I write this I’m building a large prototype that will be used as proof of concept. To take this idea further I will need to find and partner with people that are skilled in programming autonomous swarms and share a passion for such a project.
This idea has the potential to develop into a startup that supplies swarms of autonomous fog dissipation drones to towns, cities, and counties that are battling with this problem.