Wageningen University & Research starts Social Drones Lab

Published on
April 17, 2020

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV or drones) technology today is one of the most demanding monitoring tools for agriculture and nature conservation. Nevertheless, airborne technology is still very complex, and proves to be a hurdle to non-expert users. There is an eminent need to investigate further on how to bridge the gap between UAV technology and non-expert users, like farmers and crop producers.

A new facility, hosted by the Chair group Information Technology at the Social Sciences Group of Wageningen University & Research is now opened to address this problem. In this new Social Artificial Intelligent Drones (SAID) Lab or Social Drones Lab for short students, researchers and other (internal and external) stakeholders will work on.  

Leverage interaction between people and UAV’s

The vision of SAID Lab is to have a research facility that develops Artificial Intelligence (AI) approaches applied to UAVs to leverage the interaction between people and airborne technology. Our mission to contribute to research excellence is:

  • Design AI approaches that translate raw UAV data in practical information that can be understood by non-expert users.
  • Explore famer-UAV interaction tools, e.g., combined with Internet of Things (IoT), that ease the usage of UAVs.
  • Develop AI data fusion approaches, e.g., multiple sensors, to support farmers decision-making in real-time.
  • Leverage multi-robot symbiosis, e.g., A complex task executed by a ground and an aerial robot collaboratively.
  • Boost the adoption of off-the-shelf robotic farming systems.
  • Boost UAV technology education, e.g., workshops, MOOCs.
  • Promote circular economy and engineering with recycled materials.

Current projects at Social Drones Lab

Cooperation with Unmanned Aerial Remote Sensing Facility

The SAID Lab is also a sister facility of the Unmanned Aerial Remote Sensing Facility (UARSF) which is hosted by the Laboratory of Geo-Information Sciences and Remote Sensing – WUR Environmental Sciences Group. SAID and UARSF complement each other and envision stepping towards the employment of autonomous and more intelligent vehicles for remote sensing the environment.

Come fly with us

The SAID Social Drones Lab invites students to develop their BSc and MSc thesis on UAV-based technology to help farmers. Also, we are looking to expand our network and generate opportunities and further collaboration with other universities, SMEs, government, and food producers. So, please contact us for more information.