Monday, December 5, 2016

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The CUSC Science and Technology Fair.  Courtesy of the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus The CUSC Science and Technology Fair. Courtesy of the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus

Congress Hears UAV Expert from SDSU

SDSU researcher Mike Hennig recently spoke in Washington D.C. about civilian uses of unmanned aerial vehicles.
By David Rozul

San Diego State University researcher Mike Hennig recently provided insight on unmanned aerial vehicles at an open forum for Congress.

Hennig along with Gene Robinson, SDSU’s UAV technology partner and RP Flight Systems president, educated members of Congress, industry stakeholders and the publics about civilian uses for UAVs. Both presented at the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus Science and Technology Fair in Washington D.C.

“The media has the public acclimated to seeing UAVs as large, missile firing, Predator or Global Hawk aircrafts, but there is another world of small aircraft that are doing so much to enhance the safety and productivity in many lives,” Hennig said.“This has been a huge opportunity for us to push for the civilian based efforts of UAV use.”

UAVs in the Viz Center

In the past four years, the SDSU Visualization Center, located in the Chemical Sciences Laboratory building, has been a key resource in using massive imagery for organizing geospatial data for emergency response.

The SDSU Viz Center, and technology partner RP Flight Systems, have conducted numerous civilian efforts using UAV systems including:

  • participating in large scale wildfire exercises
  • mapping invasive plant species
  • performing population studies for high risk earthquake regions.

Robinson and RP flight systems have been vital players in SDSU’s UAV research. Both continue to be instrumental in furthering SDSU’s educational efforts within the UAV community.

“All the research and recovery based work within the Viz Center gave us a tremendous amount of access to jump ahead academically and benefit scientific communities,” Hennig said. “Gene, has been able to open great avenues for us with his support and reputation in the industry.”

Current Research

Currently, Hennig and Robinson are UAV fleet operators for the Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Research Project by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.