NIRAS takes to the air - opens drone airfield

Published: 03-04-2014

NIRAS sees great commercial potential in acquisition of a leading Danish drone developer and operator

Denmark's third largest firm of consulting engineers, NIRAS, is taking to the air and, in the future, will use drones for a range of projects.

NIRAS has recently acquired Global Skyview which, as a developer and operator, is one of the leading players on the drone market in Denmark.

As a direct consequence of the acquisition, mayor of the Danish Municipality of Allerød Jørgen Johansen opened NIRAS Aerodrome on Tuesday.

The new aerodrome is a combination of drone airfield and test and training centre for drones and drone pilots. The aim of NIRAS Aerodrome is to strengthen the company's leading position in the use of unmanned, airborne systems for a wide range of projects that blend well with NIRAS other business areas.

The potential is enormous, and NIRAS expects to use the drones for both mapping projects and a range of engineering projects such as inspections of buildings, bridges and wind turbines, explains Allan J Christensen, director at NIRAS.

"We see extremely broad potential in the technology. Up to now, drones have primarily been used for photography and mapping, but we have plans to install a wide range of sensors on the specially built drones so that we can adapt the equipment to a broad spectrum of tasks," he says.

Allan J Christensen expects the acquisition to result in a serious breakthrough for drone technology and he anticipates that NIRAS' Norwegian and Swedish subsidiaries will also be able to use the Danish drones on their projects.

Due to the accuracy of the drones, we can show level differences in roads and footpaths and, based on data from the drones, we can create precise models indicating how water will flow in the event of cloudbursts or flooding.

With deviations of only a few centimetres, the drones are able to produce data for a high-resolution 3D model of buildings and landscapes in one single flight. With heat-sensitive sensors on board, drones can also be used to measure gas leaks from abandoned landfill sites. It will also be possible to measure heat loss from buildings, ensuring the most profitable optimisation of energy.

NIRAS also expects to be able to use the drones for the analysis of invasive plant species such as hogweed and Japanese knotweed over extensive areas. NIRAS currently possesses three helicopter drones and two fixed-wing drones, and two further helicopter drones and another fast-wing drone are under development.

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