Unmanned Aerial Systems

As one of the largest UAS research centres in the UK we have extensive experience in all aspects of automated flying systems, and their use for both scientific and commercial problems. Our current portfolio includes photogrammetry, thermal sensing, and environmental modelling and monitoring.

Key equipment

A selection of our current fleet of unmanned air vehicles.
A selection of our current fleet of unmanned air vehicles.


We have a variety of multirotor vehicles with the capacity to fly payloads of up to 7kg for durations of up to 20 minutes. 

Our tethered multi-rotor system can hold position for over 2 hours, providing the capability to perform in-situ measurements at altitudes up to 60m above ground level.

Hovering capability makes these ideal platforms for sensor missions over small areas, such as creating a thermal map of a building.

Small Fixed Wing Aircraft

Our person portable fixed wing fleet allows for payloads up to ~3.5kg to be flown for durations of up to 45 minutes per flight. The endurance of these platforms allows for data to be collected over large areas.

The electric propulsion systems are zero emission and can be configured for low noise operation, making these platforms suitable for low impact environmental monitoring.

Large Fixed Wing Aircraft

The UAV Factory Penguin B aircraft is a highly capable platform. With a maximum payload of 7kg, and an endurance in excess of 6 hours, this aircraft is ideal for long duration data collection missions.


  • Micro jet engine testing rig.
  • Electronic motor test rig.
  • Experience in custom UAV design and construction.
  • Indoor Flying zone (6x6x4m).
  • Both single axis load cells and multi axis force balances.
  • Extensive experience flying fixed and rotary wing vehicles up to 12kg.


Ongoing project with the Environment Agency involving the estimation and monitoring of emissions from sites of interest, and near real-time aerial mapping.

Long term development work with Stevenson Astrosat focusing on use of UAVs for environmental monitoring, for example measuring heat loss from buildings using UAVs.

BAE Systems provides funding and studentships focusing on the development of novel aircraft controls, often culminating in production of experimental demonstrators.

Recent Projects

Fixed wing UAV landing in Ecuador following plant species identification mission.

Gamma Programme – Using UAS facilities to support development of software solutions for managing autonomous systems.

School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences – supporting long term environmental monitoring projects, utilising a variety of UAVs for data collection.

Research themes

▲ Up to the top