Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Remote Sensing and Scientiﬁc Research: Classiﬁcation and Considerations of Use
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) have evolved rapidly over the past decade driven primarily by military uses, and have begun ﬁnding application among civilian users for earth sensing reconnaissance and scientiﬁc data collection purposes. Among UAS, promising characteristics are long ﬂight duration, improved mission safety, ﬂight repeatability due to improving autopilots, and reduced operational costs when compared to manned aircraft. The potential advantages of an unmanned platform, however, depend on many factors, such as aircraft, sensor types, mission objectives, and the current UAS regulatory requirements for operations of the particular platform. The regulations concerning UAS operation are still in the early development stages and currently present signiﬁcant barriers to entry for scientiﬁc users. In this article we describe a variety of platforms, as well as sensor capabilities, and identify advantages of each as relevant to the demands of users in the scientiﬁc research sector. We also brieﬂy discuss the current state of regulations aﬀecting UAS operations, with the purpose of informing the scientiﬁc community about this developing technology whose potential for revolutionizing natural science observations is similar to those transformations that GIS and GPS brought to the community two decades ago.
UAV,Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS),aerial survey,drone