Aerial comms tested in remote Svalbard

By Jonathan Nally
Thursday, 17 May, 2018

Aerial comms tested in remote Svalbard

A consortium is trialling the use of unmanned aerial systems to carry communications equipment in Norway’s Svalbard region.

Telenor, the Andøya Space Center and Robot Aviation are using the FX450 unmanned aircraft as a development testbed.

It is hoped the system will improve preparedness for disaster relief in Svalbard, a region that has seen heavy growth in commercial shipping, tourism and cruise ship traffic in recent years.

According to Guttorm Albrigt Hansen, Head of Telenor Svalbard, the region’s large distances and unsatisfactory cellular, VHF or Maritime Broadband Radio coverage could prove challenging in the event of situations such as accidents or natural disasters.

The unmanned aerial systems could be fitted with communications equipment as well as cameras, radar and other sensors.

The system is primarily aimed at emergency response in the aftermath of major accidents or disasters, but could also be used for other purposes, such as inspection work following avalanches.

The project is set to commence in mid-2018 and is expected to last for around 12 months.

Image courtesy Robot Aviation.

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