Drones in the Arctic
WP4: Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Technology
CIRFA and its partners develop new technologies to allow drones to be used safely and reliably in a cold climate environment. Drones provide an ideal situational awareness tool that may be combined with satellite observations and state-of-the-art-models.
Equipped with sensors and cameras, drones can access areas that are impossible or challenging for humans to access; for example, very thin ice, drifting icebergs, or snow avalanche areas, to safely and efficiently perform ground measurements.
Both satellite-based systems and RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, commonly known as “drones”) have limitations and weaknesses. Satellites offer superior station coverage but limited spatial and temporal details. Drones offer high-resolution measurements but have a limited range and are weather sensitive. Used in combination, both tools complement each other well.
In the Arctic climate with often cold and moist air, ice can quickly build up on the drone propellors, and batteries last for a shorter time. Hence, drone systems and sensor technologies to be used by industrial operators in the Arctic should be robust and reliable. We develop flexible and efficient drone and sensor technologies that handle the widest possible ranges of environmental conditions, enabling high quality measurements of sea-ice and iceberg properties as well as detecting and monitoring oil spills in ice-affected areas.
Develop resilient platforms with improved take-off and landing capabilities, de-icing performance, wind tolerance, and fault tolerance
Improve communication links, robustness and bandwidth in Arctic RPAS operations
Develop RPAS sensors for sea ice characterization, ocean surface parameters measurements, and oil-in-ice detection and tracking
Develop onboard data processing and improve ‘concepts of operation’ allowing for real-time operation support and ultimately integration into non-segregated airspace
WP4 leader, NORCE
Department manager observation systems, NORCE
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Sea ice and icebergs
WP2: Identifying and mapping of sea ice, icebergs and snow for safer navigation.