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International Conference to Explore Increasing Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

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As civilian use of unmanned aerial vehicles (or drones) increases, the University of Worcester is bringing together a host of experts to explore the potential of these unique tools for environmental applications.

Historically, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) were the preserve of the military. But in recent years, their potential for civilian applications, including environmental monitoring has been recognised and interest is booming.

The University of Worcester is one of just three UK universities to hold a Civil Aviation Authority licence to fly a UAV. It uses a Draganflyer X6 UAV largely for research in geographical sciences, including assessment of river habitats.

The conference, taking place on Thursday, July 4th 2013, will bring together a host of expertise to explore how these small, remote-controlled helicopters and aeroplanes are being used. Over 70 delegates have registered to attend, from a wide range of backgrounds including academia, industry and government organisations. Presentation topics include monitoring and imaging archaeological sites, the seabed and sea ice, coastal change, geohazards, river systems and air quality.

One of the conference organisers, Amy Woodget, a PhD student at the University of Worcester, whose research involves using the Draganflyer UAV, said: “The use of remotely sensed data, collected using small, low altitude unmanned aerial systems, has seen significant growth in recent years, for a wide range of scientific applications. UAVs offer many benefits. Within this field there is a need for the exchange of knowledge, theory and practical experiences, with a view to developing best practice and encouraging use in new application areas.”

Amy will also be presenting her research on the use of Worcester’s UAV to assess river habitats on a river in Chile, carried out jointly with colleagues at the University of Concepcion.

The one day conference is part of the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society’s UAV Special Interest Group and will include a number of keynote presentations, and discussions about data collection, analysis and application.

Find out more about the UAV Conference.