The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is developing key technologies for disaster monitoring unmanned air vehicles that would operate in tandem over an area providing rapid response and persistent surveillance.

JAXA envisages a fixed wing UAV that would dash to the site of a disaster to provide information on the situation for first responders, and then be followed up by an airship to deliver the persistent surveillance for disaster relief workers.

The agency's unmanned and innovative aircraft team director Suichi Sasa says that preliminary, conceptual studies are being undertaken for the UAVs that would operate together, while key technologies for guidance and navigation are being tested in the field using surrogate vehicles.

Other key technologies Sasa cites are for safety and reliability, because JAXA expects disaster relief workers operating the vehicles to have few piloting skills, and the UAVs would be operating over civil areas. Because the disaster zone would be in a populated area, JAXA is also suppporting the development of regulations for operating UAVs in civil airspace.

Source: Flight Daily News