Operation Reseach: Self-navigating drones move into production

Three people with a drone in front of them

Self-navigating drones that can safely manoeuvre according to the optimal flight path and can also carry up to 0.5 kg. Sounds like a pipe dream? Nevertheless, this is one of the aims of the large-scale collaboration UAWORLD*, of which the Department of Materials and Production at Aalborg University forms part. And it’s not so far out of reach; a prototype version 2.0 has already been completed and shown at several international trade fairs, where interest in the product has been considerable. 

In a world where optimisation and streamlining are key, innovation is essential for the developments of the future, and this has been a clear focus in the drone project UAWORLD.

“Drones are developing rapidly, so you must be innovative and ambitious to keep up. Many people think of drones as outdoor toys, but the potential is much more far-reaching,” claims Peter Nielsen, associate professor at the Department of Materials and Production at Aalborg University.

With the aid of a detailed GPS signal (positioning system), reliable wireless communication and the correct programming, the drones will be able to autonomously navigate, with continuous route optimisation – and adjustment – without any human involvement whatsoever. They will also be able to transport smaller objects quickly and easily across production lines, as well as to perform automated visual and physical checks and maintenance.

Autonomous self-navigating drones will be the new smart tool in production and, in the long term, will become a supplement to classic AGVs, Automated Guided Vehicles. Version 2.0 and the growing interest from the business sector are clear indications that the work is proceeding smoothly, and that the future will involve drones in production.

*UAWORLD is a collaboration between the Department of Materials and Production at Aalborg University, Department of Electronic Systems, RESEIWE, Sky-Watch A/S and Games on Track A/S. The project is supported by Innovation Fund Denmark.


Peter Nielsen


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