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WP2: Establishing Operational Nodes & Drone Operations

Work Package Description

  • Work Package 2 will facilitate the up-to-date training of drone pilots, secure registration practices and legislation, producing safe operation protocols and emergency manual procedures. This Work Package will ensure calibration and testing of drones and sensors, as well as manage maintenance to secure operation-ready equipment at all times.
  • Design and methods: Work Package 2 will ensure that the SeaBee drone fleet is operational and efficient at all times by training drone pilots, integrating sensors on drones, calibrating and testing equipment, and educating personnel for maintenance and repair. The SeaBee infrastructure will require both trained personnel and certified operational procedures to be efficient and safe. WP2 will ensure the needed certificates and registrations for RO 1, 2, and 3 pilots for VLOS (Visual Line Of Sight), EVLOS (Extended Visual Line Of Sight), and BLOS (Beyond Line Of Sight) flights – this will ensure SeaBee operations across a large range of demands from a few hundred meters of coastline towards 100 km action range. WP2 will ensure sensor integration, calibration, and testing, which is particularly challenging for hyperspectral imaging. Direct geo-referencing, using navigation sensors, is generally required for operations over open water, as constant visual features for photogrammetry and image stitching are lacking. High quality data will be ensured using a state-of-the-art calibration bench validated by ESA’s Fiducial Reference Measurements for Satellite Ocean Color (FRM4SOC), owned by NIVA. Technical workshops for drone maintenance and repair will ensure that the drones can be maintained and repaired at the geographical location in which they are stored. This will effectively reduce operational expenses and minimize operational risks. Documentation on repair procedures will also be supplied.
  • Drones and sensors: VLOS rotor drones, and VLOS/EVLOS/BVLOS fixed-wing drones, with areal coverage from few hundred ha to hundreds of km2, with either low (<1 kg) or high payload capacity (tens of kg). Customized solutions will ensure targeted operations covering horizontal and vertical terrains. Relevant models include DJI M200 and M600, Ebee Pro, and PX-31. State-of-the-art sensors for radiance measures and imaging collection, including visual-light RGB cameras, and sensors for multispectral and hyperspectral imaging, thermal, near-infrared-red, and solar-induced fluorescence. Flexible solutions will ensure adaptation to the rapid developing technology in the field. Accurate navigation (e.g. RTK GPS) and communication hardware for on board logging of image and metadata, and real-time viewing of image acquisition by ground control stations and drone operators.
  • E-infrastructure:
    • High-performance computing hardware (CPU/GPU) for image pre- and post-processing including geo-referencing, automated quality control and data product generation will be rented from the national e-infrastructure UNINETT/Sigma2.
    • Custom solution software to handle the above in the processing pipeline will be installed in partner computer facilities.
    • Hardware platforms and cloud-based interface facilities for web-based data handling and sharing at UNINETT/Sigma2

Lead: NTNU

NTNU is an internationally oriented university with headquarters in Trondheim and campuses in Gjøvik and Ålesund. NTNU has a technical-natural sciences main profile, a number of professional education and a large academic breadth which also includes the humanities, social sciences, economics, medicine, health sciences, educational sciences, architecture, entrepreneurship, arts and artistic activities.

Contact:

Tor Arne Johansen, NTNU. Tor Arne Johansen has an MSc and PhD degree, both in electrical and computer engineering, from NTNU, Norway. From 1995 to 1997, he worked at SINTEF as a researcher before he was appointed Associated Professor at NTNU in 1997 and Professor in 2001. He has published several hundred articles in the areas of control, estimation and optimization with applications in the marine, aerospace, automotive, biomedical and process industries. Prof. Johansen is currently a principal researcher within the Center of Excellence on Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems (NTNU-AMOS) and director of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Laboratory at NTNU and the SmallSat Laboratory at NTNU. He recently co-founded the spin-off companies Scout Drone Inspection, UBIQ Aerospace and Zeabuz.