Arctic Space Centre and Sodankylä Space Campus, News

New research on drone technologies: towards autonomous flying to assist intelligent traffic systems and cryosphere research

Photo: Leena Leppänen (FMI)

The Arctic Space Centre (FMI-ARC) participates to a new project Arctic Airborne 3D (AA3D) funded by EU-program Interreg Nord. The main objective of the project is – by cross-border collaboration – to help entrepreneurs in Interreg Nord area to use (semi)autonomous drone applications e.g. to detect abrupt snow and ice conditions causing accidents or additional work in cities.

AA3D aims to industrial research in a set of innovative drone technologies with visualization, sensor and radio locating technologies. The project will also utilize interaction methodologies to develop and demonstrate new business models related to the drone applications. Technology innovations will be tested in the demonstrations of business sectors.

Currently the drones are operated mainly manually. It is important to take the step towards autonomous flying to reach the technologies full potential. Challenges for control algorithms, but also in meeting the country dependent regulations for autonomous flights are acknowledged. Focus is also on developing requirements and needs for next-generation drone operations across the collaborating countries.

The Arctic Space Centre works with two scenarios: UAV-drone for Intelligent Traffic Systems and cryosphere research with UAV-drone. The intelligent traffic scenario includes testing of automated drone operations for road surface observations in vicinity of road weather stations. The purpose is to develop methods to extent point-wise road weather station observations to larger scale with complementary drone observations. The work with cryosphere research includes optical measurements with a hyperspectral camera manufactured by Rikola from different heights with the drone in addition to measurements with the same instrument installed to a 21-m height mast. The idea is to demonstrate automated drone for cryospheric observations and piloting a system for drone based satellite validation and calibration.

More information:

Kari Mäenpää

Leena Leppänen

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