Small US built drones searching damaged Fukushima nuclear plant

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) are developing unmanned aerial system (UAS) technology to fly into the containment vessels of the damaged units at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station and assess conditions. During the project, the SwRI-UPenn team demonstrated that the UAS was capable of autonomously navigating in a confined, GPS-denied environment, avoiding obstacles along the flight path, and surviving the radiation levels expected during a mission inside of the units at Fukushima Daiichi.

Researchers and engineers are set to send drones roughly the length of a pencil to the site of the damaged former Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.