In its quest to prove the commercial appeal of unmanned air vehicles, Qinetiq has carried out a series of demonstrations to show the utilisation of small UAVs for environmental monitoring.
Alongside the Welsh Government, Qinetiq carried out the demonstrations at the Snowdonia Aerospace Centre earlier this month, specifically looking at UAVs being utilised for fishery protection and erosion and flooding prevention.
Slovenian manufacturer C-Astral’s 2.5h-endurance Bramor rTK was used to carry out data collection on the Welsh coast’s vulnerability to flooding and erosion, and a high definition camera collected images for layering to develop a 3D model of the topography of the site.
“The exercise demonstrated how drones could help to spot the warning signs early, enabling better preparedness and timelier response,” Qinetiq says.
A 3h-endurance Bramor C4Eye UAV carrying a video camera was launched from the airfield and flew out over Cardigan Bay, where it collected position data on a Welsh Government fishery patrol vessel in a simulated illegal fishing mission.
“As understanding of unmanned technology grows, sectors such as emergency services, agriculture and communications are beginning to see the possibilities,” Jeremy Howitt, unmanned services campaign manager at Qinetiq, says. “This demonstration is a chance for our guests to see first-hand the role Wales could play in realising that potential.”
Wales is the home for a number of UAV initiatives, including the Parc Aberporth test site that provides the British Army’s Thales Watchkeeper UAV testing, plus the Snowdonia Aerospace test centre at Llanbedr.
“Wales is well placed to take advantage of the growing interest and use of drones for a wide range of civilian uses,” Welsh government economy minister Edwina Hart says. “We have two unique centres in Wales – at Llanbedr and Aberporth – that have benefited from significant infrastructure investment and are in pole position to maximise these emerging opportunities and attract investment as the technology develops.”