In the last few years, several public and private research developers started investing a considerable amount of resources for the construction of human-friendly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or ‘drones’. These devices immediately found a great deployment in the society opening an incredible amount of new opportunities as useful tools to 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, disaster planning and handling, surveys in remote or undeveloped areas, and the delivery of goods. 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 work to define societal challenges and ways to address them using applications of drone technology. The project will also study potential
(unintended) consequences of such applications in terms of risks and ethical questions.
Despite the enormous achievements, drones have sufficient control autonomy and capability to complete only part of these activities and the majority of the applications previously described still rely on human supervision. This platform represents an important opportunity to develop and combine cross-disciplinary research activities in several strategic fields. Lund University has several ongoing activities and expertise related to autonomous drone flights, e.g. the drone pilot education at the School of Aviation in Ljungbyhed, the infrastructure projects ICOS, ACTRIS, NordSpec, and SITES
Spectral, and research in remote sensing, drone archaeology, image analysis, machine learning, robot technology, air quality, and GIS. Strengthening and coordinating this capacity will enable rapid growth in terms of research, capacity building, and collaboration within the university. It will also stimulate regional development and innovation by increasing the collaboration with local companies and authorities.