University of Vermont

Vermont Unmanned Aircraft Systems

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