Monday, 14 December 2015

Hornet Frontiee Defence

Since the Vespa velutina, (Asian Hornet) arrived in Bordeaux in 2004 it has managed to conquer most of France in ten years. As someone that grew up in England this makes me think of world-war two. We have a malevolent invasion force in France that is threatening to cross the channel.

So how would I protect England, and then push back? I'd design an autonomous lighter-than-air drone, (fight fire-with-fire). (Obviously I've already designed it.) It would be a small blimp that could collect rain-water and sunlight. The sunlight would be converted into electricity and used to create hydrolysis, (when needed) to collect the hydrogen from the water and use that for lift. The craft would have to be able to maneuver so it will require one Coanda fan on each side, (no exposed blades to get caught up in trees). As the craft may spend long periods in a static location it should be able to moor itself with a fixed hook. That just leaves the payload.

A device that can locate and match the target, (the black-hornets) and a weapon. I thought long and hard about this part. A water/sand jet that could knock their wings off, (water is probably far too heavy, but could be extracted from the hydrolysis chamber.) A small laser could perform the same job and use the energy in the solar-batteries.

The real advantage comes when electronic hobbyists create many of these and they are able to share information. Even if a single craft was unable to follow a hornet back to its nest, the speed could indicate a bee-line to or from the nest and the direction would draw a line that would point to (or from) the nest. Then any other drone that passes within the 802.11 range could be informed of a sighting, (//UTC/GPS/direction/velocity) and with enough drones the south coast could become an impenetrable mesh.

One of the problems of this invading species is that they are elusive; locating their nests can be quite the challenge. I suspect that many generations of humans have hunted this insect for its lava, (a rich source of protein - yes really) and that Darwinian pressure has meant that the ones that tend to hide their nests in the tops of trees, (and other concealed locations) are the ones that we are left with.

A single drone could hover outside of a nest and zap each drone and eventually the queen, but it might be better to design a Mylar/nylon bag that could be drawn up over the nest at night to seal and contain the whole lot. (Research into something as light as a nylon stocking and still resistant to the formidable mandibles of this aggressive species would have to locate the best material. I envisaged a device that could be attached to a drone that had two arms that could spread the opening of the bag and draw it up over the nest. Then tie it off at the top and cut the nest free from its anchor.
 The crafts mooring anchor could be used to attach itself to the nest before cutting the nests anchor so that its decent would be more gentle (and could be guided through the branches into some sort of oil-drum receptacle, (which could be closed and ignited so that it becomes a safe incinerator.  As some nests will be in forest locations, we have to ensure that we have no chance of starting a forest fire.

The ground based equipment could be an auxiliary ground support based craft, (something low and flat with caterpillar-track propulsion.) The drone could summon HFD-GS1 to assist with disposal.
 The heart of this technology is the ability for computer vision to locate a hornet and track it. (That shouldn't be hard,) and an autonomous craft that could use solar-powered-hydrolysis-of-rain as its lift.

Once England is safe we could crate a Normandy invasion force to Defend our neighbor and sweep the problem from Europe. There is a bit of a clock on this, as the invader is spreading in all directions and will soon occupy an area that will be too large to patrol.

This species is terrible for bees, but anecdotally they might also be impacting the mosquito population of France at the same time. This could protect against he spread of malaria (though it seems we have a new wonder drug on that front... for now). This could disrupt the bird-life of Europe, though I have no idea how that would impact anyone other than twichers.

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