The University of North Dakota and RIAS have a number of research projects affecting UAS worldwide.
Dr. Askelson leads the HubNet research effort, which is focused on developing a Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) corridor between Grand Forks and Fargo. This serves as a blueprint for enabling commercial BVLOS operations.
UND has a full-fledged suite of researchers and a Federal Aviation Administration Test Site attempting to solve the challenges presented by so-called “Beyond Line of Sight” operations.
Drs. Will Semke and Jim Higgins are developing advanced SWARM technology that would solve major challenges in detection.
At every level of UND, faculty and staff work towards realizing the state’s goal of becoming the global capital for applied UAS research.
To that end, one of the university’s deans, Dr. Bradley Rundquist, continues to perform research in the UAS space around remote sensing and object classification. His work has propelled the University of North Dakota to become a major source of employees for agencies like the National Security Agency and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.
Similarly, Dr. Forrest Ames’ expertise in aerodynamics, thermodynamics, and heat transfer has helped him become a foremost authority in the field of aerodynamics through custom wind tunnel development since his former work at Rolls Royce.
UND researchers have created automatic detection for naturally-camouflaged wildlife. The defense applications for image analysis, camouflage detection, and pattern recognition are unlimited.
Finally, Dr. Jeremiah Neubert’s dual roles of roboticist and deep machine learning pattern recognition expertise have come fully to the fore with his work on space exploration and pattern visualization.
Data Supply Chain and Cyber Security
The University of North Dakota is also diving head first into the Big Data revolution, but choosing to concentrate on the institution’s central focus on UAS-generated data.
For example, Dr. Gretchen Mullendore’s work with Northrop Grumman in concert with the company’s engineers of the Global Hawk to analyze aerospace environments previously thought to be unsafe. Utilizing high-performance computing enabled analysis of deep convection turbulence with advanced atmospheric modeling, Dr. Mullendore has enabled Northrop Grumman to operate the Global Hawk within theaters previously thought of as inaccessible.
Dr. Naima Kaabouch is leading research to detect non cooperative airborne bodies and cyber attacks.These areas have immediate applicability towards developing major capabilities in counter-terror and counter-autonomy technologies.
Because Grand Forks and the University of North Dakota exist in a collaborative environment with state and federal regulators, including the FAA, the institution is in a unique space to drive UAS innovation while also addressing public concerns. The institutions’ committee, as a result, has become one of the foremost authorities on best practices for UAS.In the wake of the drone intrusion into the White House grounds, the Guardian reached out to UND’s famed UAS Research Compliance Committee as a pioneering space for UAS research ethics and law enforcement.
To date, there has been no significant citizen opposition to Grand Forks’ emphasis on the UAS industry, due to a public interest in driving a sustainable industry in the region. This community-wide interest led to the creation of the Grand Sky UAS Park, which is located on a U.S. Air Force base.
UND and the state of North Dakota have an expressed policy of encouraging faculty to work with private industry.
Within this capacity, the institution has engendered a number of major public-private partnership grants, including work on automated detection of image anomalies for a major public utility company and Big Data public-private partnership facilitation through the National Science Foundation.