Development of small drones "Ant-Plane" for Antarctic research - Its possibility and difficulty

Minoru Funaki, Naohiko Hirasawa, Satoshi Imura, Kiichi Moriwaki, Yoshifumi Nogi, Kenji Ishizawa, Shin Ichiro Higashino, Hiroto Murase, Hideo Sakai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Four kinds of small drones (autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles UAV, so called Ant-Plane) are developed under the Ant-Plane project for scientific research and logistics in the coast region of Antarctica in austral summer. The Ant-Plane 2 cruised within 30 m of the planned course during calm weather at Sakurajima Volcano on Kyushu. During strong wind, 22 m/s, at Chokai Volcano, northern Honshu, the drone remained on course during straight flight but deviated when turning leeward. An onboard magnetoresistant magnetometer (400 g) recorded the variation of magnetic field with accuracy of 10 nT in calm wind, but strong magnetic noise was observed in strong wind, especially a head wind. The Ant-Plane 4 achieved a continuous flight of 500 km and the highest flight altitude of 5700 m. The Ant-Plane UAV can be used for various kinds of Antarctic, requires further development of techniques for easy takeoff and landing and easy start of engines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-230
Number of pages19
JournalAntarctic Record
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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