Industrial applications were among the most demanded. For example, MONTANUNIVERSITÄT LEOBEN, Austria, tested the system to apply drones in mining and especially for mine surveying. The Mining Engineering and Mineral Economics Department used UgCS to perform drone flights in open pit mining with the view to investigate if drone surveys could be used for deformation monitoring on creeping slopes. ‘The 3D trajectory planning is very worthy because this way we can follow the typical terrain in an open pit mine’, a university representative explained.
Many universities, like those in Georgia, the USA, demonstrated proactive interest in applying UgCS for multiple purposes. For instance, Georgia Institute of Technology utilized a drone and UgCS for mission planning and flights to safely evaluate and maintain transportation infrastructure. The images collected with the photogrammetry tool are used to train AI to identify anomalies in pavements and assess the quality of mowing work along roadways. The University of Georgia used the software to detect cyanobacteria in lakes, and to collect hyperspectral data over soybean crops during maturity for analysis.
Probably one of the most exciting UgCS applications was performed by Stanford researchers. A group of experts at Stanford University has developed a multi-drone imaging system and used it to survey colonies of nearly one million Adelie penguins in Antarctica. A full research article on ‘Multidrone aerial surveys of penguin colonies in Antarctica’ with UgCS can be found at Science Robotics.
UgCS was also applied to address the issue of climate change. Scientists of the University of Lisbon funded by the Portuguese Polar Program analyzed the vegetation cover distribution and the permafrost-active layer thermal regime in the Antarctic Peninsula. They used some UAV platforms in order to obtain high-resolution DSMs and mosaics of the ice-free areas of the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.
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