The Airport is using an innovative technique that could be used to ferry supplies to the Wadden Islands in the future
Groningen Airport Eelde is very quiet at the moment, with little activity on the runway, making it the perfect time to experiment with drones. The airport says that the experiments are “a nice step towards unmanned aviation”.
The main aim is to inspect the runway using a specially adapted drone with a high resolution camera. The data gathered is fed into a laptop at ground level, reports RTV Drenthe.
According to Egbert Swierts of the DroneHub Eelde, who are operating the drones, they are seeking new applications for these unmanned aircraft. This includes, for example, flights with medicines to the Wadden Islands.
Another application is the inspection of aircraft and buildings. “Everything we do here is experimental,” says Swierts. “Eelde is the only airport with a controlled airspace where we can experiment with drones. A great opportunity to test here.”
The condition of the airport’s asphalt runway was examined on Wednesday evening. “We fly a pre-programmed route where the camera takes a picture every few meters. The point is whether we can extract data from the recordings automatically and whether employees can see in the photos what the state of repair of the asphalt is”, says Swierts.
The asphalt track can be viewed centimeter by centimeter with the photos: “the next step is to have intelligent software view the data from the drones.”