AI News, Drones collect measurements from a volcanic plume at Volcán de Fuego, Guatemala

Drones collect measurements from a volcanic plume at Volcán de Fuego, Guatemala

During a ten-day research trip the team carried out many proof-of-concept flights at the summits of both Volcán de Fuego and Volcán de Pacaya in Guatemala.

Using lightweight modern sensors they measured temperature, humidity and thermal data within the volcanic clouds and took images of multiple eruptions in real-time.

This is one of the first times that bespoke fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been used at a volcano such as Fuego, where the lack of close access to the summit vent has prevented robust gas measurements.

Drones offer an invaluable solution to the challenges of in-situ sampling and routine monitoring of volcanic emissions, particularly those where the near-vent region is prohibitively hazardous or inaccessible.

These sensors not only help to understand emissions from volcanoes, they could also be used in the future to help alert local communities of impending eruptions -- particularly if the flights can be automated.'

Dr Tom Richardson, Senior Lecturer in Flight Dynamics in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Bristol, explained: 'Building on our award winning work on Ascension Island, the team carried out multiple beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) flights from the observatory flying up to 10,000 feet above the launch site to reach the summit of Volcán de Fuego.

Drones help scientists study Guatemalan volcanoes

A team of volcanologists and engineers from the Universities of Cambridge and Bristol has collected measurements from directly within volcanic clouds, together ...