Fraunhofer IFAM creates offshore drone campus in Cuxhaven to support drone sector

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Material Research (IFAM) in building an Offshore Drone Campus in Cuxhaven.

The Offshore Drone Campus Cuxhaven (ODCC) will provide a test and development infrastructure for unmanned aircraft systems for offshore use. The new location offers local and technical opportunities to develop offshore drones together with scientific partners and industry and to get involved at regulatory levels.

Research priorities are the safe and efficient use of drones for offshore work such as maintenance, inspection, repair or measurement, as well as the development of new propulsion and material protection concepts for the demanding use of aircraft under offshore conditions.

With the expansion of offshore wind turbines, there is also a growing market for inspection and maintenance work. Carrying out these demanding services safely and reliably and digitizing them offers optimal application potential for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS for short) and at the same time relieves people of difficult work in challenging environments, says IFAM.

The location in Cuxhaven, with its flight area directly on the water, offers realistic test scenarios for the needs-based design of the entire offshore UAS system. The direct connection to office and workshop space creates added value for the UAS developer industry. Furthermore, due to the availability of validation geometries in the form of a tower structure, there is the option of testing close-to-object flights and structure interactions. With the immediate proximity of the flight test areas to the mouth of the Elbe and the associated possibility of direct flight corridors towards the German Bight and Heligoland, there is a realistic application scenario.

In connection with the testing options under real conditions in the test field for maritime technologies in the sea area off Helgoland, the Cuxhaven location offers opportunities for the continuous development and qualification of offshore UAS and the standardization of procedures. In addition, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s research ship “Joseph von Fraunhofer” is available at all times from its berth in Cuxhaven to accompany tests on the water.

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