Drones can contribute to several strategies of the European Commission to ensure food security, reverse biology loss and address climate and environmental challenges. Currently the multi-purpose application of drones in Europe is limited because of socio-economic, regulatory and environmental challenges. The Information Technology group is one of the partners in a project named ICAERUS, that aims to showcase and support, through application, the effective, efficient and safe deployment of drones as well as, identify the risks and added values associated with their use.
The ICAERUS vision is to explore opportunities and provide a more complete and interconnected account of the potential and impact of drones as multi-purpose vehicles in EU agriculture, forestry and rural areas. ICAERUS proposes an “application-oriented” approach, through the selection of five specific drone applications, to explore the multi-purpose application potential of drones in agricultural production, forestry and rural communities. The selected drone applications represent the most important sectoral and societal drone usage purposes in Europe and cover multiple applications that are interconnected within the complex rural European landscape.
“Taking off” from the current state-of-the-art in the drone ecosystem, ICAERUS will “rise up” by advancing existing software technology, platform components and knowledge in regard to drones, to exploit the potential of drones and strengthen capacities to reduce their risks, achieve better informed decision-making, enhance sustainability performance and competitiveness in agriculture, forestry and rural areas. This will be showcased in two directions: fundamental applications representing an “eye-in-the-sky”, using the drone as a positioning system for optical observation and recording, and a “hand-in-the-sky” applications, for spraying and goods delivery.
ICAERUS plans to scale-up through research, technology optimisation, demonstration and education about drones to create an efficient, trusted and safe enabling environment for the EU drone services market to achieve the EU’s decarbonisation, digitalisation and resilience ambitions. ICAERUS consists of a balanced, multi-actor, cross sectoral and well-experienced consortium, including research organisations, SME technology providers, associations and non-profit organisations. The Information Technology group has received a €521.000 grant from the European Union’s funding programme Horizon Europe.