Project will use drones to check for 'heat leakage' in campus buildings

May 30, 2017

A joint project between UND’s Office of Research and Economic Development and SkySkopes, Incorporated, could lead to a new use for drones.

The plan is to equip the small, low-altitude drones with thermal sensors to collect energy audit data on North Dakota University System buildings. That information will allow the campuses to assess costs of thermal leaks in buildings.

"What SkySkopes will able to provide are thermal images that will allow our folks here to calculate the energy loss, and link that to the cost of energy being used," said UND vice-president for research and economic development Dr. Grant McGimpsey. "We're in a place that uses a lot of energy in wintertime to heat, and we can make the buildings more efficient and decrease costs."

McGimpsey said it's a very exciting project.

"We're using home grown assets here," McGimpsey said. "Ultimately, what we learn from the project, and what we're able to create, will potentially be a marketable product for SkySkopes."

Research North Dakota has awarded that project just under $442,000.