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JAXA is developing an unmanned disaster monitoring system from the sky that can be useful in acquiring accurate conditions of a disaster-stricken area that has been devastated by a large scale earthquake or other natural disasters such as a storm or a flood. After surveying opinions and suggestions from local governments, fire departments and other disaster-prevention related organizations, we proposed an unmanned disaster monitoring system based on JAXA’s unmanned aviation technology.
In the case of an unmanned disaster monitoring system, it is not enough to automate a disaster monitoring flight and aerial photo shooting that takes place during an automatic flight. It is also required to make the departure and return automatic. In order to satisfy such requirements, JAXA is carrying out research on the autonomous guidance and flight control for automatic flights according to the designated flight path and automatic taking off and landing control function, and is verifying the technology of our small unmanned fixed-wing electric plane.
Through our experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake, we are also studying a larger unmanned aircraft that can cope with a large-scale disaster and aerial measurements of radiation doses to deal with an accident at a nuclear power plant.
In pursuit of reduced fossil-fuel technologies for future aircraft, experimental research has been conducted on an electrically driven wheel-assisted STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) system. Flight tests have been conducted with a model plane. Elementary research on an electric power plant has also been conducted.
Our team has been engaging in research and development of other various kinds of aircrafts including a multi-purpose small unmanned aircraft useful for meteorological observations and an unmanned stratospheric blimp “Stratospheric Platform,” which can be airborne in the stratosphere at an altitude of some 20 km for communications, broadcasting and earth observations.