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Canterbury’s researchers looking to improve UAV capabilities

Canterbury’s research centres looking to improve UAV capabilities

June 22, 2014

The University of Canterbury’s Wireless and Spatial Engineering Research Centres are looking to improve their unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) multispectral imaging for use in hi-tech agriculture, rural fire control and forestry.

The centres’ director Fred Samandari says his teams are also working on a project to develop a UAV to measure sea ice thickness in the polar regions.

``Our spatial engineering research also includes providing technical advice to the Civil Aviation Authority as they develop legislation allowing UAVs to share airspace with conventional aircraft.

``We are opening up two large areas of Canterbury for UAV flight testing. These can be activated to exclude all other aviation and permit testing of fully autonomous UAVs. This will be the first and only place to carry out this work in New Zealand.

``This will attract international UAV research groups to the University of Canterbury to use our facilities and work with our growing UAV research groups here. We are running monthly UAV forums which attract industry and researchers from all over New Zealand. The CAA sends a representative to every meeting. Our university is quickly becoming the UAV research centre for New Zealand,’’ Samandari says.

The university’s Wireless centre and Tait Communications won the Research and Business Partnership Award and the Supreme Award at the recent national KiwiNet Awards ceremony. The awards success further acknowledges the strong relationship between the two organisations and its positive economic impact on New Zealand and beyond.

Samandari says research at the Wireless Research Centre is also looking to produce more effective communications for public safety first responders, reducing the risk of injury and loss of life.

``We also want to improve performance for power grid communications, leading to faster detection of potential faults and fewer power outages. We are also looking to grow more efficient wireless technologies, potentially leading to revenue in next generation mobile systems 5G and beyond.’’


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