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Start of measurement flights with drones

A new drone at LIAG will in future simplify the exploration of underground structures and promote the large-scale collection of data for the investigation of groundwater systems. A new geophysical method is to be developed with which the LIAG can distinguish itself as a partner in the field of geophysics by using drones. First test flights are planned.

LIAG scientists have successfully completed the practical training for the LIAG drone system. As a result, LIAG can now apply for an ascent permit from the aviation authority in Lower Saxony and will soon be able to start the first measurement flights. The system is a heavy-duty drone with a maximum permissible total weight of 25 kilograms and a maximum payload of approximately 9 kilograms. At the moment the drone is equipped with an electromagnetics sensor which, together with the LIAG's high current source for semi-airborne EM measurements, is used to investigate the distribution of electrical conductivity in the subsurface. This is intended to close the gap between ground-based geoelectric measurements and large-scale helicopter electromagnetic measurements and enable effective investigations on the kilometre scale, especially in areas that are difficult to access.

The system will initially be used for the exploration of ore bodies (DESMEX-2 project) or the salt-fresh water boundary in coastal areas (go-CAM and KiSNeT project). Due to its high payload and modular design, the drone can also be equipped with other sensors such as georadar or thermal imaging cameras. LIAG thus has an innovative and flexible measurement platform at its disposal. Possible further areas of application are, for example, the extensive exploration of the groundwater level in inaccessible areas or the thickness of bogs.