Image processing algorithms and 3D sensors developed by AIT are making it possible to detect potential obstacles both in the air and on the ground (e.g. objects on the runway). They provide the basis for pilot assistance systems or autonomous airborne systems, which in the future will be able to take off automatically, fly to a target point and also land autonomously. However, this will require reliable obstacle detection under different environmental conditions, the capability to perform evasive manoeuvres to avoid collisions, and reliable self-localisation independently of satellite navigation. Such systems can provide a rapid overview of the situation in the context of crisis and disaster management, for example, in case of fire, floods, avalanches or major events, where it is of critical importance to locate endangered persons or determine the direction and extent of spread of toxic gases.