Robot Aviation have announced they will collaborate with Telenor Svalbard and Andøya Space Center to develop and test a specialised Norwegian drone to increase emergency preparedness in one of the northernmost areas of Scandinavia.
With increases in commercial shipping, tourism and cruises in Svalbard, the Norwegian archipelago region between mainland Norway and the North Pole, the Norwegian technology companies want to use drones to strengthen the understanding of situations, communication coverage and the ability to handle events.
Commercial shipping, tourism and cruises to Svalbard and the surrounding seas have grown sharply in recent years, and this growth will continue.
“Large geographical distances and areas without adequate coverage for mobile communications, VHF or maritime broadband radio (MBR) in the area of Svalbard can be a challenge in accidents, natural disasters and the like,” says Guttorm Albrigt Hansen, head of Telenor Svalbard.
The unmanned aerial system (UAS), will carry photo and camcorder, radar or other sensors, as well as telecommunications equipment. The system is primarily intended as a readiness solution that will provide communication coverage for major events or disasters. In the long term, one will assess whether the system is suitable for other purposes, such as inspection of snow and counting of animals.
The three companies involved who have come together to collaborate on the project each bring a special expertise and experience. The project, which is expected to be demanding, both technologically and with respect to the climatic conditions to be operated in, is expected to last for about a year and is scheduled project to commence in June/July 2018.
Robot Aviation bring over 20 years experience in the development and manufacturing of high performance fixed-wing drones for surveillance, inspection, security, resource management and emergency response tasks. The systems are designed for operations under demanding conditions and long operating hours / range.
Telenor Svalbard, who have been operating in the Arctic region for over 100 years, are a leading provider of telecommunications solutions with extensive expertise in the construction and operation of arctic areas. Svalbard is used by Telenor Norway as an arena for the innovation and testing of new technologies with special focus on emergency response solutions. Telenor Svalbard delivers fiber to all long-term residents in Longyearbyen, as well as latest mobile technology with superb coverage in most of the areas where most people live and travel.
Andøya Space Centre, established in 1962, are based just two degrees north of the Arctic Circle and provide unmanned aerial solutions for inspection, mapping and surveying. They are one of the few operators in the region with Beyond Radio Line of Sight (BRLOS) capability, able to provide effective operations over large areas, as well as areas where there is difficult or zero ground access.