A remotely piloted, unmanned drone aircraft will be flight-tested in Egilsstaðir, East Iceland over the coming months. RÚV reports that the 15-metre (49-ft) wide craft that is under the joint oversight of the Icelandic Coast Guard and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) will be landing and taking off from the town’s airport while tests are ongoing.
The Hermes 9000 drone is controlled via satellite and steered remotely by a pilot. It is outfitted with cameras, radar, and equipment that can detect emergency calls and will be tested for law enforcement, search and rescue, and pollution control applications in Iceland. According to a page on the EMSA website, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) “have been developed to assist in maritime surveillance operations to support authorities involved in Coast Guard functions undertaken by Member States, such as maritime pollution and emissions monitoring; detection of illegal fishing, anti-drug trafficking, and illegal immigration [and] search and rescue operations.” Some of these crafts are outfitted with infrared sensors that can detect oil spills and slicks, as well as gas sensors which “measure the amount of SOx in a plume emitted by a ship to be able to calculate the percentage of sulphur used in the fuel burned by the ship.”
The Hermes 9000 is expected to arrive in Egilsstaðir at the start of next week; tests will be ongoing in Iceland for the next three months.