About the Event
Recently there has been considerable interest in using miniature aerial vehicles for traffic management and highway infrastructure security applications. The motivations for using these vehicles are compelling. For example, rapid incident response or year-round highway infrastructure inspection requires the installation of intelligent transportation system sensor networks in and around highways. In rural areas, however, it is neither cost-effective nor physically possible to provide wide-area coverage using fixed sensor networks; it is impractical to build the power, communications, and other infrastructure required to support such networks. Appropriately instrumented aerial vehicles can provide an easily configurable complementary network that augments existing terrestrial sensor networks. The use of remotely piloted aerial vehicles in this manner assumes that these vehicles can be safely and legally operated over populated areas and alongside other passenger-carrying aircraft in the National Airspace System. In this presentation, the researchers will discuss the sensing, regulatory, and operational challenges that have to be addressed before remotely piloted aerial vehicles can be routinely used in these applications. University of Minnesota research addressing these challenges will also be discussed, and prototype sensing systems, aerial platforms, and operational procedure developed as part of this research will be demonstrated.