Remotely Controlled Airplane and Survey


Advances in technology have resulted in the development of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can be remotely controlled (flown by a pilot at a ground control station) or flown autonomously based on pre-programmed flight plans. UAVs have been used successfully in military activities including reconnaissance and even attack missions. Civilian applications of UAVs have included weather observations and aerial surveys.  Here we are experimenting with using UAVs for coastal observations in southeast Louisiana.

Our recent work have accomplished the following: 1) developing a coastal/wetland UAV system including a remotely controlled unmanned aircraft capable of controlled flight with some payload capability useful for coastal/wetland aerial surveys and a ground control system, with the application of surveys before and after hurricanes and storm surges; 2) demonstration of the usefulness of the UAV system by mounting concurrent ground-truth surveys of coastal/wetland areas.  This is made possible by the recent technological advancements including on-board guidance system, GPS systems and high-resolution video cameras.

The design and test flights of the UAVs are by Mr. Eddie Weeks, who has more than 20 years of experience of making radio controlled model airplanes

Aerial photo of Bay Champaign after Hurricane Gustav in Sep. 2008.