Multidisciplinary team studies storm cells with small unmanned aircraft systems

NORMAN, Okla., 27 March 2013. A team of educators are conducting in situ sensing in local storms and air masses with small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS), explains Dr. Brian Argrow, Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles, University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo., during the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Summit in Norman, Okla.

A multidisciplinary team (UAV, radar, storm modeling, and other expertise) are tracking storms and flying SAUS into them is employing UAS to study storms and take measurements (capture data) within storms, including tornadoes. The team had previously worked with the U.S. Air Force, building a test bed for mobile ad-hoc networking for network-centric communication, command, and control.

“The biggest hurdle has not been the UAS design and develop, nor the measurements, but gaining the necessary permission to do it” from the regulatory agencies, including the FAA, Argrow laments.

For an example of the work of Dr. Argrow and his colleagues, visit

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