Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) lie at the fore-front of technologies impacting geoscience and environmental research. Providing the highest spatial and temporal resolutions, the data acquired with these systems creates new opportunities to view and evaluate conditions on the ground. A wide range of data-types can be collected with systems equipped with high-resolution RGB cameras, multispectral cameras, thermal imaging systems, and LiDAR. Clearly, the potential to dramatically enhance HSU's research capacity is enormous.

Today there are dozens of manufacturers creating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS). These systems generally fall into one of three design categories, 1) fixed-wings, 2) single-rotors, and 3) multi-rotors. Each have their advantages and disadvantages.

Fixed-wing aircraft have the capacity to carry heavy payloads over long distances, but are less maneuverable and can require large landing areas. The size of a fixed-wing also increases considerably has payload increases. Multi-rotors can carry heavy payload and are extremely maneuverable, but flight times are generally short. Single-rotors can carry heavy payloads for long distances, and are also very maneuverable. Safety and poor flight-characteristics under loss of power are key disadvantages.

Figure 1. 3D Printed camera dampening system developed by student hobbyist at HSU and carried upon a student owned 3D Robotics X8+.

HSU Students Fly at College Cove

During the summer, HSU students and faculty took a personal Phantom 3 UAV out to College Cove to see how well the UAV worked over water.

Video by Terra McAuliffe