Sony Developer World & Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation announce partnership with UC Davis Department of Spaceflight Research

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Sony Developer World and Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation announce their collaboration with the University of California Davis (UC Davis), Department of Spaceflight Research. The collaboration is part of Sony’s Sensing Solution University Program, which is designed to build partnerships with university research groups that develop innovative and useful ways of using specific Sony hardware.

The aim of the UC Davis research group is to build unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) swarms. The vehicles will be created from drones, able to guard communities and combat large-scales disasters, by monitoring and assessing the air pollution caused by wildfires. To build them, the research group will use Sony’s Spresense microcontroller boards and many other components such as cameras and sensors both from Sony and other third-party companies.

“Our long-term goal is to work with Sony to develop sensing, AI, and robotics technologies for future UAV swarms that can combat large-scales disasters, such as earthquakes, wildfires, floods, industrial chemical spills, nuclear accidents, pest infestation, and agricultural diseases. We are excited about this project and we believe that our collaboration will definitely lead to many advancements that can help us to build a more resilient world”, said Professor Zhaodan Kong, Associate Professor at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of UC Davis.

The UC Davis research group includes:

    • Professor Zhaodan Kong, Associate Professor at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of UC Davis. His work focuses on control, robotics, machine learning, and their applications in agriculture, environmental science, aerospace, and neural engineering. Professor Kong is also affiliated with the UC Davis Center for Spaceflight Research and with the UC Davis Center for Neuroengineering and Medicine;
    • Ajith Kaduwela, Senior Staff Scientist of the California Air Resources Board. His research focuses on urban and regional smog, visibility degradation, and global climate change. Dr. Kaduwela is also affiliated with the UC Davis Air Quality Research Center;
    • Evan Foley, masters student at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC Davis, with a BSc. degree in Aerospace Engineering from San Jose State University. His research focuses on unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) swarms and artificial intelligence;
    • Preet Amin, Srikumar Brundavanam, and Shuhao Yang, undergraduate students at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of UC Davis. They will assist on the UAV design and testing tasks, as well as on the data collection and analysis ones.

Currently, in the first phase of the project, the research group of UC Davis is working on testing and integrating the following sensors: BME280/680 (Met), PMSA003I (PM), MH Z19B, NO2, NH3, CO, TVOC, HCHO, O3. During the fall, the team will work together with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to collect data related to wildfires and controlled burns. The data will be used when building the AI models to be used on the drones. Extensive details on the further phases of the project will be updated on our website.

More information:

Spresense