Arctic Centre for Unmanned Aircraft – ASUF

The Arctic Centre for Unmanned Aircraft – ASUF is a national and international focal point in the use of unmanned aircraft for emergency preparedness, environmental monitoring and technology development in the Arctic. The centre will also contribute to increased safety in connection with commercial flights and ambulance, rescue and police operations.

ASUF offers education, training, research and operational services. The centre spans the entire value chain from education and basic research to innovation and commercial activities.

ASUF develops communication systems, sensors and instruments, algorithmic and analytical tools and navigation and control systems, as well as testing new materials and adapting these for use in cold and extreme climates.

Particularly in the Arctic, unmanned aircraft are extremely well suited given the long distances and the unique weather, light and environmental conditions, as well as the increasing level of international commercial activity.

It is anticipated that the future demand will be even greater for unmanned aircraft for a variety of purposes and among various industries that operate in the Arctic. These include environmental and climate research, avalanche monitoring, shipping, energy supply, tourism, petroleum and the seafood industry.

ASUF is a partnership between Norut (Northern Research Institute), UiT The Arctic University of Norway and Lufttransport. The Director of the centre is Rune Storvold, a Senior Research Scientist at Norut.

Research, innovation and commercial operations

The Arctic Centre for Unmanned Aircraft – ASUF will connect research, innovation and business development through:

  • the training of personnel
  • the creation of new products through research and innovation
  • being a driving force in industrial technology development

New engineering programme

A new three-year engineering programme linked to operations involving unmanned aircraft will be established at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. The programme of professional study is designed to meet the needs of companies operating unmanned aircraft. The focus will be on basic remote sensing and photogrammetry, automation and electronics, as well as safety assessment and formal requirements.

Subject to approval, the programme will start in the autumn semester of 2016 with space for 20 students.

The partners of ASUF will also contribute to the certification of pilots and unmanned aircraft.

Three test sites

The Civil Aviation Authority of Norway has approved three areas for testing: Tromsø, Målselv/Bardu and Ny-Ålesund in Svalbard.

Through these facilities, ASUF will cover the Norwegian Sea, the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean towards the North Pole in terms of both research and emergency preparedness.


ASUF is the result of several years of knowledge-based development with funding and support from among others:

  • Research Council of Norway, the NORDSATSING Initiative
  • Troms County Council, RDA
  • Innovation Norway Troms
  • Norwegian Computing Center

Three partners

  • UiT The Arctic University of Norway
    UiT offers programmes of study in several subject areas that are of particular relevance for ASUF: remote sensing, informatics, engineering studies and aviation science. UiT currently offers Norway’s only publicly funded programme for commercial pilots (Bachelor of Aviation). The aviation community at UiT will play an important role in the remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) programme. The Department of Engineering and Safety is in the process of developing studies specially adapted for UAV within the framework of the Bachelor of Automation.Visit UiT’s website: uit.no
  • Lufttransport
    Lufttransport has many years’ experience operating H24/365 in the Arctic climate and topography, and is a professional service provider of round-the-clock operations with aircraft and helicopters within the fields of ambulance, monitoring and search and rescue services. Lufttransport already participates in and contributes to raising knowledge and competence in the university’s commercial pilot programme. By virtue of being a major provider of surveillance, emergency preparedness and ambulance services with aircraft and helicopters, Lufttransport will contribute to knowledge about this type of activity in ASUF. Lufttransport also attaches emphasis to future RPAS pilots having formal pilot training, which may become a separate area of business in the future.Visit Lufttransport’s website: lufttransport.no
  • Norut
    Norut is a research group that engages in applied research and innovation within technology and social science. Norut has focused on earth observation and remote sensing since its establishment more than 30 years ago. Over the past decade Norut has built up significant activity related to the use of unmanned aircraft in a steadily increasing number of new fields, including environmental monitoring, climate research, civil preparedness and data collection.Visit Norut’s website: norut.no

Contact ASUF

At the time of establishment, around 25 people are involved in various projects with combined funding of approx. NOK 30 million in 2015. The project activity is undergoing strong growth.

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