Farmers take to the skies to look after their flocks!  See how the latest technology uses drones over the fells of Alston Moor to help farmers 'spy' on wayward sheep to save them a lengthy and usually unnecessary trip up the fells.

Project Description

What is the overall problem that you are trying to address in this study? And what is its significance?

  • Avatars can provide a range of benefits to rural businesses and communities but these are unproven.Picture of Drone
  • The project identified potential uses for rural avatars testing assumptions in real life scenarios.
  • Until beneficiaries can see real life case studies of rural avatars, it is hard to obtain useful feedback.

This project delivered a feasibility study of deploying real avatars in a rural community to:

  • Define the potential services the avatar could offer.
  • Carry out market research amongst potential beneficiaries.
  • Assess the equipment, management and running costs.
  • Assess the legal framework and any constraints (particularly relevant to surveillance drones).
  • Identify network issues (wireless / 3G coverage etc.) and how they would affect the range of the avatar and the quality of the experience.

The study:

  • Researched, identified and procured solutions from technical partners who provided the avatars - Blue Bear Systems for the UAS and Giraff for the GBA. Warwick University provided the Giraff. The Open Universtity academics supported the selection of the technical partners and guidance was obtained from the UAV Association.
  • Identified local stakeholders such as farmers and tourist organisations to take part in the trial.
  • Presented details of the project to bodies like Alston Parish Council to assess if there were any concerns in the community.
  • Tested out the avatars with stakeholders during June.
  • Organised an avatar demonstration event in July to get feedback from a wider range of tourists, farmers and the media.



 Summer 2011

 Web links

 Look North Video


 Innovate UK, BlueBear Systems