Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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35 unmanned systems inside October/November 2017 ENGINEERING. PRACTICE. POLICY. drone when crises are reported on the local air pollution emergency reporting phone line. Scientists in New York are also adding un- manned aircraft to their environmental as- sessment tool kit. They are building a multi- rotor drone to measure air pollutants such as volatile organic compounds and particulate matter close to potential pollution sources such as smokestacks or pipelines. "Unmanned aerial vehicles can be used to take air quality samples in places where it would be hazardous to collect yourself, such as with really toxic chemicals," said Markus Hilpert, an associate professor of environ- mental health sciences at Columbia University. "You can also sample in all three spatial di- mensions, which you cannot do with a ground- based sensor." Ideally, Hilpert and his colleagues would love to sample the quality of air in places such as the South Bronx, which has a notoriously high level of air pollution. "The problem is that FAA regulations currently limit f lying above people, and there are typically five-mile buffer zones around airports, so f lying in New York City will always be a problem," Hilpert said. Alaska A variety of different UAS are being recruited in Alaska. "Unmanned aircraft offer incredible pos- sibilities for monitoring pollution," said Catherine Cahill, a professor of atmospher- ic chemistr y at the University of A laska Fairbanks (UAF). Cahill runs the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex, one of the seven of- ficial Federal Air Administration (FAA) UAS test sites, and has more than 30 years experi- ence analyzing particulate matter pollution. "We can follow plumes, and f ly out into the Arctic, and develop maps to improve models of pollution distribution," Cahill said. "This data can help you know what your pollution sources are and how much each emits so you can put in mitigation measures before it gets bad and A Responder, one of two such drones used for air pollution studies by the Alaska Center for UAS Integration, takes off from a ship in Alaska.

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