Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are today considered a ‘disruptive technology’ which affects the way in which we address a variety of societal challenges, including agriculture and forest analysis, identifying property boundaries, surveying construction sites or corridors for roads and railroads, stockpile volume calculations, flooding and coastal erosion assessments, building information management, Search-And-Rescue, radiation detection, disaster planning and handling, surveys in remote or undeveloped areas, the delivery of goods, etc. The possibilities of digitalisation and technology development address societal challenges such as making societal sectors and domains more ecosystem friendly, efficient and competitive. This project will continue to work to connect academic actors with external stakeholders in their efforts to use UAS to identify and address such societal challenges. The project will also continue to study potential (unintended) consequences of such applications in terms of risks and ethical questions and also support internal as well as external stakeholders in their efforts to be compliant with the recently enacted European regulatory framework for UAS.
In the last three years the collaboration project UAV@LU has served as an important opportunity to develop and combine cross-disciplinary research activities in several, for Lund University, strategic fields (see self-evaluation for more details). In doing so, the problem and opportunity of ‘system autonomy’ has been identified as a boundary problem shared by most actors in the collaboration network. Hence, increased system autonomy will be given a specific focus in the collaboration over the coming two years. Another additional challenge which has emerged just recently is how to adapt organisations (including Lund University) in order to be compliant with the recently enacted European regulatory frameworks for UAS.
In order to mark the increased focus on drone systems (rather than simply the drones themselves) the collaboration project will change its name from UAV@LU to UAS@LU.