Dr. Peter Webley
University of Alaska - Fairbanks
Associate Research Professor
Deputy Director, UAF C-SSHRP AK Fairbanks
Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (ACUASI): Operational Support and Geoscience Research
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) have enormous potential for use in geoscience research and supporting operational needs from natural hazard assessment to the mitigation of critical infrastructure failure. They provide a new tool for universities, local, state, federal, and military organizations to collect new measurements not readily available from other sensors. This presentation highlights the UAS capabilities and research of the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (ACUASI, http://acuasi.alaska.edu/). Our UAS range from the Responder with its dual visible/infrared payload that can provide simultaneous data to our new SeaHunter UAS with 90 lb. payload and multiple hour flight time. ACUASI, as a designated US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) test center, works closely with the FAA on integrating UAS into the national airspace. ACUASI covers all aspects of working with UAS from pilot training, airspace navigation, flight operations, and remote sensing analysis to payload design and integration engineers and policy experts. ACUASI’s recent missions range from supporting the mapping of sea ice cover for safe passage of Alaskans across the hazardous winter ice to demonstrating how UAS can be used to provide support during oil spill response. ACUASI is also working on developing new capabilities to sample volcanic plumes and clouds, map forest fire impacts and burn areas, and develop a new citizen network for monitoring snow extent and depth during Northern Hemisphere winters. Those attending the presentation will learn how UAS can be integrated in operational support systems and at the same time be used in geoscience research projects to provide high precision, accurate, and reliable observations.