Kansas State Polytechnic’s AARC provides high-quality research in UAS promote the commercialization of UAS.

The program’s capabilities include the ability to assemble, on campus, any small UAS system including aircraft assembly and sensor integration (including the gimbal system) for the unit. In addition, the program has access to a full CNC machine lab, composites fabrication lab, and Faraday cage for radio frequency research.

Recent and Current Research

Validating the Standards for the FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration awarded Kansas State Polytechnic a grant to research the standards ASTM International developed to certify airworthiness of small UAS aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds. Kansas State Polytechnic evaluated these recommendations and made specific recommendations to validate the establishment of satisfactory quality and safety guidelines for fabricating UAS, including the command and control link communications between the aircraft and ground crew, ensuring reliable controllability of the UAV.

UAS Maintenance Requirements for the FAA

The FAA awarded Kansas State Polytechnic a grant to lead a comprehensive research program involving UAS Maintenance, Modification, Repair, Inspection, Training, and Certification Considerations. This work, led by Kansas State, includes Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and Montana State University.  The focus of this ongoing project is to develop solid, justifiable recommendations to the FAA on how UAS should be maintained to support the FAA’s roadmap to integration of UAS into the National Airspace System.

Human Factors Considerations of UAS Procedures and Control Stations for the FAA

This FAA project, under the lead of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, focuses on control station design and ergonomics minimum requirements. Our involvement pertains to identifying pilot procedures and operating requirements for larger than small UAS. This element of the research involves collaboration with Embry Riddle and the University of North Dakota. We are identifying pilot operating requirements and procedures to be considered in developing a ground control station with human factors considerations.

Power Infrastructure Inspection

Research includes exploration of UAS relevance to provide high-fidelity inspection data of key power infrastructure elements, such as power lines and associated support equipment, inspection of wind turbine blades for signs of deterioration, as well as unusual hot spots associated with transformers and other equipment at power substations. We also have experience in volumetric coal-pile analysis, power plant inspections, and even internal boiler inspections. Using UAS in these applications reduces the “down time” associated with traditional inspection methodologies, while reducing risk to personnel at the same time.

Mapping of Natural Resources

Kansas State Polytechnic was selected by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to help monitor the different stages of health of their land, including some archaeological and prehistoric sites. Kansas State Polytechnic monitors aspects such as vegetation growth, decline, and species invasion.  Photos are taken with UAS and manipulated by highly technical software to create a 3D model that can be evaluated each year.