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ÅF develops a prototype product for improved navigation of drones in Arctic environments

ÅF will, together with the Swedish company Integrated UAV, investigate and develop a prototype product that aims to improve and increase the accuracy of navigation with drones.

ÅF has, together with the Swedish company Integrated UAV, been granted funding from the European Space Agency (ESA). The reason is to investigate and develop a prototype product that aims to improve and increase the accuracy of navigation with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also called drones, in Arctic environments – an area where magnetic fields and satellite navigation can be interfered for various reasons.

“The drone normally uses different techniques for navigation, some of the most important being a magnetic compass and satellite positioning. Especially by the north and south poles, these techniques can be affected and applied, where navigation and maneuvering in such areas can be problematic, says Tomas Gustafsson, expert in drone technology at ÅF.

One purpose of the project is to strengthen confidence in the drone technology among researchers, the tourism industry, transport companies and industry - some of those who use drones in arctic areas but can be affected by interference.

“ Drones can be used for mapping topography and geology, snow occurrence, ice distribution in the waters around vessels and to transport equipment in remote areas”, says Tomas.

One part of the project will consist of developing a hardware prototype that will be able to integrate with the existing flight controller on a drone and to assist or take control of the vehicle when magnetic fields or satellite navigation are interfered.

“ In order to develop the hardware prototype, we would need to log data from different types of aircraft. Therefore, we would like to get in touch with people who work with or use drones in Arctic environments and who have experienced disturbances. We believe that these people can contribute with valuable data, ”says Tomas.

The project started on July 1, 2019 and will last for one year. 

For more information, please contact Tomas Gustafsson.