Peatbog UAV Image

Rare peatlands on Exmoor, Devon, photographed from 300m above the ground using a camera mounted on an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Find out more about this project.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Research Network gets off the ground

A group of Cornish business people and enthusiasts from the worlds of microelectronics, model aircraft flying, composite structures and sensor manufacture, have joined researchers from the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) to explore the creation of a facility for environmental research and monitoring using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).

The group, which has been invited by the ESI to form a collaborative Research Network, will inform and advise the ESI researchers in their work to observe and monitor the landscape and environment of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The resulting research project will enable monitoring at a level of detail, and with a flexibility, not currently possible with satellite and conventional aircraft methods.

‘It was great to meet such an enthusiastic group of people with a desire to share their expertise’ said the ESI’s Dr Karen Anderson, a specialist in remote sensing who is leading the research project. ‘We had a very productive discussion about the use of UAVs as platforms for environmental research and I am excited by the possibilities for developing our capability for this type of research within the ESI in the future’.

The potential contribution of the group is significant. ‘This is one of many exciting opportunities that the ESI is engaging in to combine our research understanding with the expertise of local businesses and other stakeholders, to help in developing an environmental services industry in Cornwall’ said the ESI’s Director, Professor Kevin J Gaston following the event.

The next stage of the research project will include a series of flying demonstrations and practical tests to explore the capacity of UAVs to carry instruments.

If you have skills and experience to contribute to this new, interdisciplinary, and collaborative Research Network, please contact Leo McLeman, ESI Knowledge Exchange Manager.

Date: 18 October 2012

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