After more than four years of intensive work, The Cyprus Institute celebrated on Thursday, 21st November 2013, during an official ceremony the Inauguration of the Unmanned Aircraft Research Facility. H.E. the Minister of Communications and Works, Mr. Tasos Mitsopoulos attended and addressed the ceremony.
The ceremony was also addressed by Prof. Costas N. Papanicolas – President of The Cyprus Institute, Dr. Andreas Pittas – Chair of the Executive Committee, Mr. Antonis Ioulianos - Head of Research Infrastructures and Human Potential Unit of the Research Promotion Foundation and Prof. Manfred Lange, Coordinator of the Project and Director of the Energy, Environment and Water Research Center.
Unmanned aircrafts play an increasing role in atmospheric research and for observing properties and processes at the Earth’s surface. The major advantages of unmanned aircrafts lie in the versatility and flexibility of their employment, the wide variety of research issues they enable to be tackled, the relative cost effectiveness of utilizing them and their ability to carry out missions that would hardly be possible at all with piloted airplanes.
The Unmanned Aircraft Research Facility has largely been developed in the framework of the “Autonomous Flying Platforms for Atmospheric and Earth Surface Observation” project (APAESO). APAESO aims at providing the research infrastructure for sophisticated atmospheric measurements, but is also intended to address changes in climate-related transformations in vegetation cover, oceanic biological activities or contamination of water reservoirs, to name but a few of the possible remote sensing applications. To pursue these ambitious goals, the Facility comprises four medium-sized and one smaller research aircrafts, a mobile ground control station, a fully equipped laboratory and workshop and a host of scientific instruments.
Further to the applications in scientific areas related to environmental studies, the Unmanned Aircraftscan also be usetilized for the documentation and study of archaeological sites, for border controls, for recording and monitoring traffic in urban areas, for search and rescue missions and for the detection of forest fires.
The Facility is unique to Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean region. Once fully operational, the Cyprus Institute’s Unmanned Research Aircraft Facility will be made available to the research community of Cyprus and will open up new and exciting prospects for environmental research. First scientific missions have proven the impeccable performance of the research aircraft and the significant potential for international collaborative research activities.
The Minister stated that he has been following with great interest the Institute’s activities and he congratulated the scientists for this innovative project. Mr. Mitsopoulos stressed that the advantages of the unmanned research aircrafts are obvious, and went on to say that once fully operational the Facility will positively impact our country. The Cyprus Institute, he said, acquires a powerful research tool, placing Cyprus in the the forefront of high level research in the Mediterranean region, Middle East and Europe. During these difficult times for our country, he said, we must invest in research and innovation, in order to overcome the financial crisis. The Minister concluded by expressing his contentment for the excellent cooperation between the Ministry and CyI, a partnership that will be further extended.
Following the ceremony the attendees were toured to the Unmanned Aircraft Research Facility laboratory where they had the opportunity to see the unmanned research aircrafts, the mobile ground control station and some of the scientific instruments which are used during the flights.
The ceremony was attended by Mr. Prodromos Prodromou, Mr. Zacharias Koulias and Mr. Nicos Nicolaides - Members of the House of Representatives, Dr. Petros Kareklas, Dr. Andreas Moleskis, Mr. Manthos Mavrommatis and Mr. Andreas Mouskos - Members and Honorary Members of CyI’s Board of Trustees, Mr. Shengchao Fei - Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of China, Mr. Fabio Ferraguto - Commercial Attaché, Embassy of Italy, Mr. Michael Charokopos - Secretary for Economic and Commercial Affairs, Embassy of Greece, Major Jeffrey S. Jager - Assistant Army Attaché, USA Embassy, Mr. Glafkos Cariolou – Mayor of Kerynia, Mr. Alecos Michaelides – Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communications and Works, Mr. Andreas Petrides – Chairman of the Cyprus Radio Television Authority and by many distinguished personalities from the academia and the business world.
The APAESO project is co-financed by the European Development Fund and the Republic of Cyprus through the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation: ΝΕΑ ΥΠΟΔΟΜΗ/ΝΕΚΥΠ/0308/09.