Saturday 26 May 2018

Research that will examine practical uses for drones awarded more than €6m funding

Drone (stock image)
Drone (stock image)

Conor McCrave

Research that will explore practical uses for drone technology has been awarded more than €6m in funding, it was announced today.

Research based out of Maynooth University, and in collaboration with a number of companies including Intel and Airbus, was awarded €1.8m from Science Foundation Ireland in addition to a further €4.5m industry investment.

The U-Flyte project will explore practical uses for drone technology including coastal surveillance, aerial mapping and commercial services, such as online shopping delivery.

Speaking at the launch today in Waterford, Minister of State for Research and Development John Halligan said: “The U-Flyte project will play a hugely important role in developing drone technology for use around the world, and it is using Waterford Airport as a test bed.”

He added: “This highlights Ireland’s ability to punch about it’s weight when it comes to the research and development of science and technology.”

In Ireland the maximum height to fly a drone is 120metres, with a maximum distance of 300m in distance allowed between drones and the operator. The drone must also remain within sight at all times.

Junior Minister John Halligan. Photo: Tom Burke
Junior Minister John Halligan. Photo: Tom Burke

This new research will examine uses for drone technology that would expand these restrictions and broaden the functions of them for a number of industries.

Dr Tim McCarthy, from the National Centre for Geocomputation, said: “drone technology has the potential to be used for a wide range of practical applications, from the simple delivery of online shopping, to capturing data for maps of farms.

“Experts even foresee drones being used to transport life-saving medical supplies, or coming to the aid of swimmers, making search and rescue operations safer.”  

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