Aberystwyth University has announced that it has invested in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology to expand their state-of-the-art forestry research.
The Earth Observation and Ecosystem Dynamics Group at Aberystwyth University in Wales worked with COPTRZ, a drone sales and consulting firm, to develop a unique LiDAR and spectral imaging solution. The new drone solution will be used to enhance the university’s research by enabling the measurement of standing timber volumes, forest biomass and carbon content.
The Volantä UAV LiDAR system will “enable survey grade point clouds to be captured using a sub 20Kg drone linked to spectral imaging data,” according to COPTRZ. “The data captured will then be used to monitor the successful transition of plantation forests to Continuous Cover Forestry, a forest management approach that seeks to increase the ecological diversity of British forests.”
Osian Roberts, PhD Student at Aberystwyth University, explained: “Aberystwyth University owns several fixed-wing and multi-rotor UAVs and we have now added to the fleet with a LiDAR unit that will enable the direct measurement of forest attributes such as tree height, stocking density and canopy cover. We anticipate that the proliferation of UAV technologies over forthcoming years will enhance opportunities for the collection and analysis of remotely sensed data, presenting our students and researchers with an opportunity to increase our knowledge of our environment.”
James Pick, UAV Strategist at COPTRZ and leader of the Volantä LiDAR project, commented, “We are proud to be chosen by Aberystwyth University to enable their drone strategy. The team have been working tirelessly over the past 6 months to develop a UAV LiDAR solution that is both cost-effective and ready to use out of the box. We have managed to deliver this during the project and expect more research departments to consider similar UAV technology in the next 12 months. COPTRZ are looking forward continually working alongside Aberystwyth University in their quest to enhance their global research capabilities.”