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Remote Sensing Capabilities Using Unmanned Air Systems

October 21, 2014
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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Dr. John Valasek
Dept. of Aerospace Engineering Texas A&M University

Director, Center for Autonomous Vehicles and Sensor Systems (CANVASS)
Director, Vehicle Systems & Control Laboratory


Advances in unmanned flight have led to the development of Unmanned Air Systems (UASs) capable of carrying state-of-the-art sensor systems that are useful for a multitude of civil applications such as humanitarian relief (disaster response), precision agriculture (crop monitoring, irrigation, and crop dusting), infrastructure assessment (refineries, roads, bridges, rails, buildings), and resource conservation (forest, desert, oceans, wildlife, forest fires). However, as recent headlines demonstrate there are still significant technical and regulatory barriers to the full realization of these applications plus many others. This talk will focus on these issues and provide practical assessment and guidance for researchers interested in using UAS for their remote sensing work. Specific aspects that will be addressed are the impact of UAS performance on data acquisition (how high can it fly, how fast can it go, what kind of weather can it fly in, how much spatial and temporal coverage can I get?); the advantages/disadvantages of fixed-wing versus rotorcraft vehicles in terms of range, endurance, payloads, launch & recovery, and mission suitability; privacy issues; how to obtain legal permission for UAS flights; and the location of test ranges available to TAMU researchers. As an illustrative example, results will be presented for a UAS remote sensing system that is currently being developed and tested at TAMU for precision agriculture applications.


John Valasek is Director, Center for Autonomous Vehicles and Sensor Systems (CANVASS), Director, Vehicle Systems & Control Laboratory, Professor of Aerospace Engineering, and member of the Honors Faculty. He has been actively conducting flight mechanics and controls research of Manned and Unmanned Air Vehicles in both Industry and Academia for 29 years. Prior to his 17 years at TAMU he was a Flight Control Engineer for the Northrop Corporation, Aircraft Division. John is the author / co-author of three recent books on Unmanned Air Systems (UAS), and is a co-inventor on a patent for autonomous air refueling of UAS. His research is currently focused on bridging the gap between traditional computer science topics and aerospace engineering topics, and has been funded by AFOSR, AFRL, ONR, NSF, NASA, FAA, and industry. It encompasses machine learning and multi-agent systems, intelligent autonomous control, vision based navigation systems, fault tolerant adaptive control, and cockpit systems and displays. John earned the B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in 1986 and the M.S. degree with honors and the Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Kansas, in 1990 and 1995 respectively.


October 21, 2014
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Koldus Room 110