UND has been active in unmanned ‘flight’ research for over 12 years, with major efforts in human factors, detect and avoid, airspace integration, and payload development. There is additional related ‘flight’ research in areas such as propulsion, airframes, controls, sensors and communications technologies. A goal of the Institute will be to grow and integrate all of these research areas. Please think about how your research fits with or adds to these areas and tell us.
There is an exciting convergence occurring in the data industry. First, the development of unmanned and autonomous systems as vehicles for acquiring large amounts of data is maturing at a rapid pace. At the same time, diverse industries such as agriculture, power utilities, banking and finance, energy development, biomedical sciences and others have been heavily leveraging Big Data and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies for the purposes of analytics, visualization and near-real-time decision making. Bringing Big Data and the IoT to bear on the large datasets generated by unmanned and autonomous systems will open the door to applications development. Please think about how your research in data, Big Data and the IoT could fit with the many applications of unmanned and autonomous systems.
The development and application of cybersecurity technologies is crucial to the operation of unmanned and autonomous systems, to the data that they produce, and to the applications that they enable. Unmanned systems must be operated safely and securely, free of hacking/spoofing, and the data obtained, whether of defense or economic importance, must be kept proprietary and out of the hands of unauthorized persons or organizations. From power grids to agriculture, the data and information obtained through unmanned operations must be secure. Please think about how your research fits with cybersecurity.
Applications are the drivers of unmanned and autonomous research, as they provide the motivation for the use of these systems. Unmanned and autonomous systems are employed to help answer questions, and ultimately, development of applications is based on the acquisition of data and the conversion of this data into actionable information through a ‘data supply chain’ consisting of the closely linked functions of data storage, communications, security and analysis. Please think about the potential use of unmanned and autonomous systems in your own research, whether such use would provide valuable added insight to your work, and what the broader impacts of such use would be.
Unmanned and autonomous systems, as evolving and innovative technologies, are related to many public policy issues. Entrepreneurs are populating the systems and products related to these systems, and they are import- ant stakeholders in the evolving regulatory structures. Policy issues are also closely linked to other focus areas described above, and involve all branches and levels of government. Regulation related to unmanned and autonomous systems is therefore arising in disparate organizational, jurisdictional, and agency settings, from federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Department of Defense, to municipal law enforcement agencies. With its long history with unmanned systems, UND is a natural policy leader. Please think about how your research impacts or fits with Policy.