K-State Salina provides high-quality research in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The program’s capabilities include the ability to assemble, on campus, any small UAS system 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.
Validating the Standards for the FAA
The Federal Aviation Administration awarded K-State Salina a grant to research the standards ASTM International developed to certify airworthiness of small UAS aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds. K-State Salina is evaluating these 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.
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. These applications can save time by reducing down time associated with using ground personnel to provide visual inspections of these elements, while saving risk to personnel at the same time.
Mapping of Natural ResourcesK-State Salina 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. K-State Salina 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.