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Commercial shipping, tourism and cruise ship traffic to the Norwegian northern archipelago of Svalbard and the surrounding marine areas have all grown dramatically in recent years, and this growth is set to continue. Norwegian technology companies want to start using drones to improve situational awareness, meet communications needs and make us better able to handle incidents on an emergency.
Large geographic distances and areas without satisfactory coverage for mobile communication, VHF or Maritime Broadband Radio (MBR) in the area around Svalbard could prove to be challenging in the event of situations such as accidents or natural disasters.
Now Telenor Svalbard, Andøya Space Center and Robot Aviation are joining forces to develop and test a Norwegian emergency response unmanned aerial system, which will be fitted with telecommunications equipment as well as photo and video cameras, radar and other sensors, as reported by suasnews.com.
The system is initially intended to be used for emergency response in the event of major accidents or disasters. The team will then assess whether the system is suitable for other purposes, such as inspection work after avalanches, animal counting and temporary communications coverage.
Collaboration is essential if the project is to be implemented successfully, as it is expected to be difficult both in terms of technology and the climatic conditions in which they will be operating.
Robot Aviation develops and produces fixed-wing unmanned aerial systems for monitoring, inspection, safety and emergency response missions. Telenor is a supplier of telecommunications systems, with extensive experience in construction and operation in the Arctic regions. Andøya Space Center has many years of experience in advanced operations using large drones and in Arctic region operations.