Dr Mark Askelson presents first Dean's Lecture for 2013 Graduate Scholarly Forum
Dr Mark Askelson, Atmospheric Sciences, is the first of our Dean's Lecture Series Scholars for this year's Graduate Scholarly Forum. Dr Askelson will present Unmanned Aircraft: From Potential to Reality on Tuesday, March 5th at noon in the Lecture Bowl.
Unmanned Aircraft (UA) hold tremendous promise for providing social benefit. Potential applications range from humanitarian—search and rescue missions, monitoring conditions during emergencies (both man-made and naturally occurring), delivering medicine to remote areas—to economic—advancing precision agriculture, pipeline monitoring, real-estate, etc.—to research—measuring conditions in relatively dangerous locations like thunderstorms, volcanic eruptions, etc.—to military—monitoring troop movements, etc. While many potential military applications have been realized, the use of UA in other areas has been limited owing to multiple barriers. The primary barrier is safety. Because UA are fundamentally different from manned aircraft, they exhibit different performance and capability characteristics relative to manned aircraft. These include, for instance, airworthiness and sense and avoid capabilities. Another barrier is privacy. Because UA are such efficient tools for gathering information, privacy concerns have arisen. Despite these barriers, members in many communities, including aviation, atmospheric sciences, computer science, engineering, law and law enforcement, physics, and psychology have been driven by the potential social benefits of UA to overcome them. Here, efforts at UND to overcome these barriers, which have generally been interdisciplinary in nature, will be discussed. One of the exciting aspects of these efforts, which range from sense and avoid challenges (e.g, the Limited Deployment-Cooperative Airspace Project) to redesigning training programs for UA, is the partnerships that they have engendered both within UND and between UND and external agencies. These partnerships, which have been facilitated by UND leadership and the UND Center for UAS Research, Education, and Training, have enabled UND to lend its strengths to overcoming national-scale barriers to realizing the benefits UA can provide.