The Arctic is a region of extremes where conducting work and research is often difficult, costly and even dangerous. The Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration and the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex are poised with new management and a refined focus to make operations easier in the far north.
Marty Rogers was appointed to lead ACUASI in January 2014 and has overall responsibility for both the research program and the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex recently established by the Federal Aviation Administration. The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ program dedicated to unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, has grown to a team of 18 people and more than 160 aircraft since it was established in the early 2000s.
“The emphasis on unmanned aircraft operations in the northern latitudes is increasing due to climate change and hydrocarbon extraction,” Rogers said. “We are working with the end users of data, manufacturers and prospective researchers to safely apply UAS technology when it logically adds value.”
Rogers hopes to share the know-how ACUASI gained over the years operating in sub-zero temperatures and remote locations. This technology is a burgeoning industry and Alaska can be a hub for it.
“Nobody has as much experience flying UAS in the Arctic than the University of Alaska Fairbanks,” Rogers said.
ACUASI personnel conduct research missions more than 150 days a year. Some of those missions extend beyond Alaska and include work in Iceland, Chile, South Africa and locations throughout the Lower 48.
Rogers will work in tandem with Ro Bailey, directing the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex. This FAA established this test range in late December 2013 by the FAA. The Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex includes key partners in Oregon and Hawaii, with ranges that span seven climatic zones and a wealth of geographic diversity.
The Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration is part of the UAF Geophysical Institute and collaborates with the institute’s scientists and remote sensing personnel. The ACUASI team now occupies office space in south Fairbanks. The team continues to conduct flights and testing at Poker Flat Research Range, its previous home.
Rogers is retired from the U.S. Air Force and worked as a subcontractor to ACUASI before his appointment as the center’s director.
Marty Rogers, ACUASI director, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Diana Campbell, UAF GI public relations, at 907-474-5229 or email@example.com
Marmian Grimes, UAF information officer, at 907-474-7902 or firstname.lastname@example.org