In December 2019, the largest drone hall in Europe was unveiled at the University of Klagenfurt. The researchers working at the Dronehub Klagenfurt enjoy a safe, state-of-the-art environment in which to test new technologies and collect relevant data. Most of the research projects carried out here hinge on the following: It is essential to be able to detect and pinpoint drones and their location as accurately as possible. In the drone hall, this is accomplished in an area measuring 150 square metres with a ceiling height of ten metres, using 37 high-precision cameras that track every movement throughout the entire volume of the space with the help of infrared LEDs. Additionally, the drone hall is equipped with an HPC High Performance Computer and a cable robot fitted with four winches and ropes.
The drone hall at the University of Klagenfurt is situated in Lakeside Science & Technology Park in the immediate vicinity of Joanneum Research. All research activities in the drone hall are coordinated by the research group Control of Networked Systems.
Researchers at the University of Klagenfurt have been working on new technologies aimed at optimising the use of drones since 2008. The focus lies on developing autonomous multi-drone systems that allow several drones to navigate on their own, coordinate independently, and exchange data. Ultimately, the goal is for swarms of drones to perform tasks – much like a flock of birds in nature – without relying on central programming. One particularly challenging aspect in this context is the camera-based navigation, which allows drones to form a picture of their surroundings so they can navigate around areas without needing GPS. However, wireless (multimedia) communication between the drones and their connection to 5G networks will also have to be addressed by researchers. The areas of application for the drone technologies developed in Klagenfurt are many and varied: They are used by the Red Cross and by fire brigades, in industrial environments or by shipping companies for ship maintenance, during the inventory of forests or in Mars-like conditions during analogue space missions.
These research endeavours are bundled in the Dronehub Klagenfurt. Contributions come from four research groups: Control of Networked Systems (headed by: Stephan Weiss & Jan Steinbrener), Mobile Systems (headed by: Christian Bettstetter), Pervasive Computing (headed by: Bernhard Rinner) and Multimedia Communication (headed by: Hermann Hellwagner & Christian Timmerer).
- Multidrone systems: More than the sum of the parts, IEEE Computer, 2021
- Drone networks: Communications, coordination, and sensing, Ad Hoc Networks, 2018
- Survey on unmanned aerial vehicle networks for civil applications: A communications viewpoint, IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials, 2016
- An autonomous multi-UAV system for search and rescue, ACM DroNet, 2015
News from the drone hall