Why Use 3D-Printed Drones?

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A crash for a typical model aircraft can mean disaster in the form of dollar signs and hours of labor. Enter 3-D printing, which allows for quick modification and the rapid creation of replacement parts. The University of Virginia and Mitre Corporation have teamed up to create a fully autonomous, hand-launchable drone made using a 3-D printer and off-the-shelf parts.

In South Africa’s Kruger National Park and throughout much of Africa, rhino and elephant numbers are declining at a rapid rate, because of poachers. Authorities have limited resources to catch poachers and disrupt the illegal wildlife trade, and drones could help them. A worldwide competition, the Wildlife Conservation UAV Challenge, encourages the development of cheaper, easier-to-use drones, with the goal of detecting and deterring poachers before they strike.


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