China Tests Autonomous Smog-Busting Drone
As the air pollution situation in China worsens, local officials are turning to drones in a desperate move to combat an environmental crisis threatening to choke the country’s booming productivity.
The test of the new drone was successfully conducted at an airport in China’s Hubei Province on Saturday, giving the country a glimmer of hope that there might be a technological answer to the historic levels of smog currently plaguing the country.
China’s drone is equipped with airborne catalyzers to disperse smog and has the ability to create artificial wind currents, two tools the country hopes to use to reduce the overall effects of air pollution.
But despite its lofty mission, the unnamed drone, which was reportedly manufactured by a subsidiary of the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China, isn’t very impressive visually.
Rather than the sleek military drones we’ve become familiar with, or even the amateur quadcopters that are becoming increasingly popular, China’s smog-busting drone looks like an throwback to the WWII era.
But despite its somewhat retro apperance, according to one of the engineers affiliated with the project, the drone features autonomous navigation controls that allow it to fly in even the heaviest smog conditions. Additionally, the drone is equipped with a parachute, allowing it to safely land in the event it malfunctions during a flight.
No plans have been announced as to when or even if the drone test will become a full-fledged part of the country’s pollution management policy.
China’s pollution has reached new highs in recent years, with the most recent episode, which occurred in February, forcing cars off the road due to poor visibility.
BONUS: Shanghai’s Disappearing Skyline: 21 Images of Record Pollution