Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Environmental Risk & Compliance Assessment

Focus Area

Geographic Information Systems








1-2 years

Research Idea Scope

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) have garnered a great deal of interest in the transportation community. This proposed research will examine the use of UAS for environmental risk assessment and environmental compliance monitoring. In the process, it will develop case studies and best practices. A major focus of the proposed research project will be conducting capabilities/limitations and cost/benefit analyses to compare UAS-based approaches to more traditional methods. Specifically, the following research questions will be addressed: 1) What are the environmental risk assessment applications for which UAS could be employed? 2) What are the environmental compliance applications for which UAS ould be employed? 3) Are the capabilities of UAS sufficient to provide information to decision makers that are comparable or superior to existing methods? 4) Do UAS offer savings, safety benefits, or other advantages that would make them a better choice compared to existing methods. 5) What are the regulatory, technical, and operational considerations that need to be taken into account when employing UAS for such activities? The following tasks will be performed. 1) Form technical advisory group. 2) Select case studies. 3) Carry out UAS flight operations. 4) Process UAS data. 5) Generate decision support products. 6) Review products with transportation managers. 7) Assessment of products and workflows. 8) Final report.

Urgency and Payoff

Many state and local transportation agencies are currently or considering incorporating UAS into their operations. Unfortunately, there is scant research to guide them in their efforts, particularly in the areas of environmental risk assessment and compliance. This project will go beyond the “potential” of UAS and address the key considerations that matter to state and local transportation managers.

Suggested By

Jarlath O'Neil-Dunne University of Vermont 8026563324

[email protected]