Air Tracking of a Ground Object

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This engineering resource, produced by Mathematics in Education and Industry (MEI) for the Royal Academy of Engineering, asks the question: how can a camera, mounted on a helicopter, be used to track the location of a ground-based object?

A number of discussion ideas are considered before using 2D and 3D coordinates to represent the problem and calculate distance. The problem of the helicopter moving is then addressed using vectors to describe the velocity of the helicopter. Scalar product is used to calculate the angle between two vectors.

There are two interactive files to accompany the tasks. The first practises using the scalar product, the second graphs the distance from a fixed point to a helicopter moving in a straight line.

The mathematics covered in this activity:
• Know how 2-D and 3-D coordinate geometry is used to describe lines, planes and conic sections within engineering design and algebra
• Understand the methods of linear algebra
• Know how to use algebraic processes
• Comprehend translations of common realistic engineering contexts into mathematics

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