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MOUNTAINS TECH. A COOPERATION PROJECT FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF DRONES IN MOUNTAIN ECONOMY

During the last three years, since 2016 to 2018, the two associations Pyrenees Business School and Monte de Estos have collaborated with the technology company HEMAV with the support of the programme Leader 14/20 obtained through Cedesor and co-financed by the Government of Aragon and EAFRD funds to develop a project called Mountains Tech.

The project Mountains Tech (http://www.mountainstech.com/) has allowed to carry out a study on the viability of the use of drone technology in different mountain economic activities. The origin of the project lies in the cooperation of the partners in the Ixoriguè project through which it was possible to develop a technological model for the digitalization of cattle during their stay in the mountain passes, particularly, in the Estós Valley.

After the success of the first project, the same entities launched this second project with the aim of seeking more applications in the mountain territories and using the technology in high mountains. We have worked on the usability and application together with interested economic agents in the areas of forest management, management of the snowpack in infrastructures and ski resorts, management of industrial facilities in ski resorts and recreational use of drones linked to the tourism activity.

Each of these uses has required the development of a research model on a global scale where the current needs of each of the uses have been analyzed. After the study, a second phase of interviews with the agents involved was carried out to compare the possible viability of these uses in the Pyrenees Valley. For the interviews we contacted the Aramón Cerler ski resort (management, facilities and marketing departments), the GREIM, some professional nivologists who work in avalanche forecasting, forestry agents and tourist associations in the Pyrenees. After the interviews, pilot tests were developed in each of the uses: the count of chamois, the review of the facilities, the measurement of snowpacks and their structure as well as didactic and recreational use of drones with drone pilots from the valleys of the Pyrenees. After the experimentation of the use cases, a much more concrete application was developed for that pilot project in which greater feasibility became visible.

The application of drones was developed in more detail in the ski resorts. It has been proved that drones can become very useful in the maintenance of the ski lifts and in the management of snow volumes. In this work, the collaboration of Gabi Mur and the entire ARAMON-CERLER team over the last 18 months has been essential.

During the whole project we have worked together with the technology company Hemav (www.hemav.com) which is a world leader in the application of digital technologies and artificial intelligence with a focus on the advantages of drone technology.

The closing event of the project was organized in the sports hall of Benasque as a fun day of experimentation with drone technology which was coordinated by the HEMAV Foundation. There participated the children aged between 7 and 10 years with their parents and our friends from the Social Integration Center of disability and mental illness El Remós.

This project continues with a line of work that demonstrates in Benasque, Ribagorza and Aragon that technological leadership and disruptive innovations are not incompatible with rural areas. According to the project members, several of the studied lines have a high potential to generate growth for the region in the coming years, creating and exporting technology nationally and internationally.

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