Drone Research Group


Research Group

Experts in design, development and usage of drone systems for a wide array of scientific applications

The LJMU Drone Research Group uses off-the-shelf and custom in-house-built drones for a wide array of applications that range from mapping of archaeological sites to counting orangutans. The group consists of staff who specialise on various aspects of drone design and usage which allows us to design and develop custom-made drones for specific applications using a wide number of sensors.

Our expertise


Rhinos in Nepal

We have used drones for conservation projects in many countries (e.g. Indonesia, Tanzania, Malaysia, UK). Our conservation projects focus, but are not restricted to, three conservation aspects: counting animals, mapping land cover and changes therein, and anti-poaching. We have expertise in data acquisition and data analyses.

Drone development


Drone technology is very much in its infancy and there often isn’t an off-the-shelf solution for cutting-edge research applications. Within the group we have expertise in the design and development of novel drone systems ranging from fixed-wing platforms to single-rotor helicopters and multirotors weighing up to 25kg. With access to a number of testing sites, within the Liverpool region, across the UK and internationally, we are able to develop systems with integrated sensor payloads to undertake a wide array of scientific projects in real-world environments.

Regulation and standards

Flying drones

Regulations pertaining to drone use vary significantly around the world and are changing rapidly to keep pace with technological development. Our team has expertise in operating drones worldwide, with an in-depth knowledge of the different regulations. LJMU holds a Permission for Commercial Operation (PfCO) from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) enabling our qualified pilots to operate within congested areas and undertake industry sponsored research. We are actively involved in the development of national and international standards for drone operation, BSI ACE/1/-/2 and ISO/TC 20/SC 16 respectively, to support their wider adoption in scientific research. This development involves overcoming challenges associated with both autonomous flight and operations Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) of a pilot.


Simulation and training

  • World-class flight simulator facility for training staff and students
  • Highly experienced pilots able to provide theoretical and practical training

Working within local and international field sites

Local field sites include a private field near Calderstones Park.


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Latest Tweets

  1. Testing thermal imaging from drones with the amazing team from Bay Search & Rescue at Morecambe Bay @BaySARteam https://t.co/EPzaVtFlVa

  2. Indoor training #drone fleet ready for our MSc Wildlife Conservation and Drone Applications students #DronesforGood… https://t.co/NsGOKSVSIa