Unmanned Aerial System (UAS)
The proposed research initiative strives to provide a virtual and complimentary physical research platform. Associated efforts will focus on requirements for next generation UAS, i.e. risk mitigation and management, remote sensing, flying networks, smart systems and materials, real-time monitoring, operator usability and aircraft power supply. There subjects play a major in future licensing of UAS for national airspace operation. In other words, the aim of the initiative is to undertake research to enable the integration of UAS into the national airspace as safely as necessary and economical as possible. Clearly, the success of an UAS industry will depend on UAS that in terms of cost and risk are superior to conventional processes.
The initiative’s goal is to support the development of UAS for specific applications. An example is the development of a long endurance UAS for the assessment of marine ice conditions. To achieve such objectives, establishing collaboration and synergies between a number of project groups is indispensable. The research initiative will aid in the identification of needs, risks and specifications for e.g. long endurance, power supply and flight performance. Beyond the core research projects, it is envisioned to develop business cases and engage partners from industry and public organizations. These activities constitute the foundation for prioritizing and packaging identified research needs into projects. The initiative will thus become the anchor for a group of linked projects, which will comprise a variety of disciplines and independent researchers.
In addition to the virtual research platform, a physical platform in the form of a low-cost, small-scale UAS will be made available to researchers. The aim of this aircraft is to allow researchers to conduct cost-effective and low risk experiments, as well as to aid in the training of research personnel. The latter will provide researchers with valuable insight into UAS characteristics and requirements. Desirable research projects for this initiative are in research areas applicable to Canada and the UAS market in Canada, e.g. monitoring of the environment, industrial operations, agriculture, forestry and wildlife.