Cyprus Mail

Cyprus drones to take to the skies

By Konstantinos Kakouros
THE Cyprus Institute’s Unmanned Aircraft Research Facility was inaugurated yesterday after more than four years of preparations.
Unmanned airplanes – also known as drones – play as significant role in environmental research; used to carry out atmospheric and earth-surface observations and work as a link between ground and large-scale satellite observations.
Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean will largely benefit from the facility since the Cyprus Institute is the only institution of the region that has the capability of using unmanned airplanes for scientific purposes, stakeholders said yesterday.
The facility has four medium-sized and one smaller aircraft, a mobile ground control station, and a host of scientific instruments.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Communications Minister Tasos Mitsopoulos said the facility is a “modern and powerful research tool” and pointed out that innovative research projects like this can help Cyprus exit from the financial crisis faster than anticipated.
He added that although drones have been linked to military issues “it is expected that the use of drones will be further expanded in activities such as patrols over the sea, water pollution detection, mapping, transmission of data and information, informing about traffic, study of weather events, conservation of the environment, etc”.
Drones are very helpful for scientists in investigating extreme weather events, in understanding atmospheric and ocean processes, in assessing ash clouds following volcanic eruptions and other environmental issues.
The major advantages of unmanned airplanes lie in the versatility and flexibility of their employment, the wide variety of research issues they can be used for, their cost-effectiveness, and their ability to carry out missions that would be impossible or dangerous for piloted airplanes.
The new facility was largely developed in the framework of the Autonomous Flying Platforms for Atmospheric and Earth Surface Observation (APAESO), a project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation (RPF).

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