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Background

Unmanned airborne or aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly referred to as drones, have become an option for a broad range of application scenarios. Relatively inexpensive, lightweight and easily deployable, drones provide a viable alternative to traditional forms of flight, such as full-scale aircraft and helicopters. Drones typically resemble one of several common design variants, including fixed-wing, foldable-wing, rotary, and multi-rotor designs. Modern integrated and embedded systems are creating a balance between cost, operational complexity, payload capacity and drone size

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Use Scenarios

The DroneLab explores the use of lightweight UAVs as well as terrestrial and underwater drones for a broad range of use scenarios, often in tandem with other robotic systems. Drones have become the ubiquitous choice for imaging on land, under water and in the air, for environmental and habitat monitoring, disaster and post-disaster reconnaissance, search and rescue, real-estate development and marketing, general photography, videography, cinematography, archaeology and in our case the documentation and reconstruction of cultural heritage sites.

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Learn More

The DroneLab’s research focuses on drones in the context of an integrative sensing methodology for data-enabled applications. The ubiquitous applications of drones have created a broad spectrum of opportunities for designing, developing, testing and deploying airborne, terrestrial and submersible robots, carrying a variety of payloads, from multispectral imaging to physical sample collection or placement. Current state-of-the-art drones as well as emerging technologies and associated applications can be found in our drone toolbox.

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Collaborate

The DroneLab is uniquely equipped to provide expert solutions related to a wide range of challenges in aerial, ground and underwater imaging. From platforms developed in-house for use in STEM education to modified drone technologies for use in hard-to-reach or hostile environments, our scientists and engineers can offer research, equipment and expert services, and the lab welcomes expressions of interest in potential collaborations with other institutions involved or interested in drone-related research and development. Contact our team via dronelab@ucsd.edu.

Drone Gallery