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How can Norwegian drones master the Arctic as well as the Danish drones?
Drones (UAVs/unmanned aerial vehicles) are vulnerable to weather and wind conditions in the Arctic. Nils Håheim-Saers at NORCE has carried out a vulnerability study that describes various challenges related to drone operations in the Arctic as a step towards establishing a common knowledge base related to the design of UAVs for Arctic conditions.
Cryowing Roamer on pneumatic catapult in Adventdalen outside Longyearbyen.
Data collected from UAV pilots
Both the UAV industry and the UAV operators need more knowledge about how safe design can be implemented for UAV’s with regards to surviving under arctic conditions. The study has collected data from both civilian and military UAV pilots. The result of this data collection is presented in the report "Arctic UAS study - Arctic threats to safe design of Unmanned Aerial Systems".
Ice on Cryowing Fox during CIRFA cruise in the Fram Strait 2022
The literature describes different threat vectors against a safe design of UAV systems in general.
Very few, if any, have made an effort to find common ground between the UAV technology producers and the UAV technology users.
There is a lack of common understanding of what “Arctic conditions” are and what technological issues the UAV producers must address first.
- To solve this problem the Arctic states must invest in UAV systems as an Arctic capability, both for civil and military purposes, explains Håheim-Saers.
Denmark is leading the way in the Arctic with its political prioritization and realization of both land and ship-based UAVs for Arctic conditions through an "Arctic capability package":
- The other Arctic states must follow the Danish example of political action to realize UAVs as a resource in the Arctic. Tucker Chase and Matthew Hanes illustrated this in a good way in their article “There's a race for arctic-capable drones going on, and the United States is losing”, says Håheim-Saers.
Nils Håheim-Saers is setting up data connection for drones in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard (2016).
The study points to several areas that Norway and the other Arctic states must tackle in order to establish good enough knowledge:
- Build a common understanding of what Arctic conditions are, and how a safe design of UAVs can increase both the operational envelope for the unmanned systems, the involved personnel and increase an acceptance from third parties for UAV operations in the Arctic. In order to achieve this, one should continue collecting data (user experiences) from UAV operators and UAV pilots with Arctic experience. A good starting point would be data from established military and civilian UAV user groups that already are present operating UAVs in the Arctic.
- Establishing such knowledge requires that Norway and the other Arctic countries follow Denmark's example and invest in UAVs as an Arctic capability.
The study was commissioned by Ubiq Aerospace AS.
Safety and Compliance Manager