Frequently Asked Questions
Why are UAS beneficial in Vermont?
UAS provide an affordable aerial imaging option for organizations that
would not otherwise be able to afford aerial imagery. They do not
replace other imagery options such as satellite or fixed wing platforms
but instead augment and offer a better alternative for certain situations.
A big advantage to UAS is the low cost of imagery acquisition. Even Vermont's
smallest towns could afford imagery collected by UAS. Acquiring imagery
using platforms such as fixed wing aircraft is extremely cost prohibitive
How have we demonstrated that UAS are safe to operate in Vermont?
Most UAS are safe when used appropriately and by individuals with the
proper training and experience. The aircraft used by the Vermont UAS Team
is a lightweight (1.5lbs) aircraft made of a closed cell foam. The system
that controls the aircraft has many built in safety features that work
without human intervention. These safety features allow us to operate
within almost any environment with very little risk to personnel or
property. Recent events such as close encounters with commercial aircraft
are the result of UAS operators who aren't operating within the current FAA guidance.
How have we addressed privacy concerns?
Many of the privacy concerns related to UAS are due to a misunderstanding
of the types of UAS and more specifically, how they collect data.
Often in our discussions regarding privacy, the concern is with quadcopter
style aircraft. These aircraft have the ability to hover and can get
into areas that most other aircraft could not. However, there is little
evidence that these aircraft or any UAS have been used to intentionally
invade anyone's privacy. The Vermont UAS Team uses a fixed wing aircraft
that collects still imagery designed for creating high resolution maps.
These images are no more invasive than other current technologies such
as the satellite imagery used by Google Maps. Satellites are capable of
collecting very high resolution imagery and are generally accepted as
being non-invasive and our system simply collects the same data at a
lower altitude. Our missions are also very specific so we only collect
the data needed so we are actually less invasive than traditional satellite
and airplane systems that collect without discretion.
Should UAS Be Regulated?
One of the driving factors of our team is to better understand how UAS
will impact various commercial and public sector imagery acquisition
operations. Ensuring safe operation of UAS is in everyones best interest
and ensuring that operators meet baseline standards is important to helping
professionalize UAS operations. There needs to be systems in place to allow
UAS users to prove their are qualified to operate within the National Airspace
System. Currently, there is little the FAA can do to prevent someone from buying
a UAS and flying it wherever they would like. In fact, it usually takes a near-miss
or other mishap to occur before a UAS operator can be punished and unfortunately
this could be too late if someone were to lose their life due to an incident.
Certification and qualification are going to be very important in the development of
Last modified January 26 2016 02:25 PM