A team at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is developing a new drone that could be used to prevent wildfires by igniting and monitoring controlled burns remotely. The drone could be cheaper and safer than existing practices while also being able to operate in more harsh, rugged environments.
While city dwellers may be used to railway crossings marked with
flashing red lights, the easier-to-miss warnings at rural crossings
often just consist of a sign. That's because there's no easy way of
providing electricity to such isolated locations. While solar panels
could provide part of the solution, a team of engineering students and
faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln believe that photovoltaics
alone can't consistently provide enough power. Instead, they devised
several systems that harness power from the rails themselves.