Posted: Jan 18, 2013 6:27 PM by Jessica Holley - email@example.com
Updated: Jan 18, 2013 6:38 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - It took months of prep and calculation before this unmanned aerial aircraft or, UAV, was able to make it's maiden voyage. This UAV will conduct scientific missions collecting data over different types of land.
"Our purpose for the science mission this afternoon is simply to exercise the system, fly it over a large variety of terrain, we've got water, we've got vegetation, we've got mudflats. Fly it over that different terrain and see what we get," says Dr. David Bridges Director of Unmanned Aerial Aircraft Initiative.
There are three different types of cameras on this UAV, the first is HD video as well as ultraviolet, and infrared. Researchers are hoping that some combination of those three cameras will allow them to better detect oil spills over water. Detecting oil spills is just one of the things researchers from Texas A&M Corpus Christi are hoping to do with this aircraft. The infrared data can be used to detect hot spots in wildfires when heavy smoke covers the ground. Former marine and A&M Corpus Christi student Adam Ersepke assisted Friday as a crew chief.
"I've had experience with UAVs in the military and flown smaller UAVs as an infantry man in Iraq," says Ersepke.
During his time in the middle east he flew UAVs as part of military surveillance and says the biggest difference between flying there and back in the states are the stricter regulations.
"There is just many more guidelines and regulations that you have to pin point and follow to follow the FAA regulations, because they don't much about this yet," says Ersepke.
And that's another reason why this research is so critical, the university is leading a statewide effort to persuade FAA to designate Texas as a test range for this technology.
"The question is how do you operate manned and unmanned aircrafts in the same space," says Dr. Bridges.
With the support of Texas Governor Rick Perry, A&M Corpus Christi hopes to be one of six nationwide testing areas for UAV, helping to further the government research and knowledge on these aircrafts.
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