“Little drones, big drones and crewed aviation — the whole airspace ecosystem needs to be shared,” said Mike Dubois, Air Traffic Systems technical program manager for RI&S. “It’s a national resource. Integrating these new entrants safely, securely and efficiently is something we at RI&S are actively working towards.”
RI&S is lending college researchers several of its products, including systems for air traffic management, weather prediction, cybersecurity and mobile radar. The equipment helps them conduct the research and development that is fundamental to innovation.
Sharing such sophisticated equipment and engineering resources with universities enables fundamental research, development and innovation in academia. It’s also helping to leverage existing knowledge of the piloted environment and apply it to the uncrewed environment.
For example, researchers from Stony Brook University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Virginia Tech and Hampton University have used RI&S’ Skyler radar to capture critical data in low-altitude surveillance, precision weather observation and the tracking of small unmanned aircraft systems.
Purdue University researchers used the same radar to observe severe storms. Rather than going with the typical parabolic-dish Doppler radar, they chose Skyler, which uses an active electronically scanned array, to provide faster and more accurate data.
“Skyler is definitely meeting the need for getting rapid scan polar metric updates in supercells in a way that no previous mobile radar has before,” said Dr. Robin Tanamachi, assistant professor at Purdue. “We’re just not getting data like that from the operational radar network that the National Weather Service operates.”