Unmanned Systems Group (Izhevsk, Russia) has successfully conducted joint flights of Supercam UAV together with manned aircraft (both equipped with automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) system) in conjunction with FGUP “GosNIIAS” on a drifting ice base in the Arctic. Rapid deployment of an aerodrome and a base for scholars and tourists was a priority task.
Possessing knowledge about ice condition is significant for people and infrastructure. Nowadays ice monitoring is executed by costly satellites along with piloted aviation. The specialists of Unmanned Systems Group have participated in an experiment on the Barneo Ice Camp set up annually by the Russian Geographical Society’s Expedition Centre. The experiment was conducted to assess the use of unmanned technologies for ice monitoring.
UAV Supercam S350 with ADS-B system was involved in the experiment; it monitored more than 500 km of ice. High-quality photos and online video were obtained by photo and video cameras. Thermal imaging camera managed to identify hummocks and ice cracks under the snow. ADS-B system established on Supercam S350’s board helps the UAV operators follow the UAV movement on a PC screen even in the Far North severe conditions without traditional radars.
Maxim V. Shinkevich, the company’s director, noted: “Our experiments on Barneo have demonstrated that the professional unmanned aerial systems can be used to search for areas for aerodromes or detect icebergs’ movement towards drilling platforms”.
It was the first time when monitoring of ice condition was executed in the North Pole. Methods of ice surveillance, search of landing areas, assessment of ice floes and water areas size – all of these were elaborated during the expedition. Joint work of both manned and unmanned planes, their action’s coordination was conducted. As the result, the experiment executed by the specialists of Unmanned Systems Group has proved the efficiency of Supercam UAVs use for ice monitoring. An increase in a number of such works should be expected in the future.