Insitu Provides Resources for University of North Dakota UAS Program

By Mike Ball / 02 May 2018

Insitu ScanEagle 3 UAS

Insitu and the University of North Dakota (UND) have announced significant additions to the university’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) degree program and research enterprise.

In conjunction with UND’s 50th Anniversary of Aviation Education and Research, the university will integrate Insitu’s INEXA Control, TacitView and Catalina UAS software into the UND”s Aviation UAS curriculum in the fall of 2019. Additionally, as the university currently utilizes ScanEagle UAS, it will augment its fleet of more than 150 aircraft by adding Insitu’s ScanEagle3 UAS platform.

Insitu’s partnership with UND began when in preparation for a flood across the Red River Valley at the North Dakota/Minnesota border, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty enlisted the help of UND to monitor rising river levels along the Red River, which threatened communities along the North Dakota and Minnesota border.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a Certificate of Authorization (COA) permitting ScanEagle to be flown over the flooded area during this operation, and UND directed the effort with assistance from an Insitu flight operations team. This was the first time a university and a Federal agency collaborated on a project where a UAS was used for flood plain research.

“We are excited to expand our long-term partnership history with UND, and we’re proud that UND will be the first university to become a ScanEagle3 customer,” said Mark Bauman, Vice President, Insitu Commercial. “We are looking forward to the launch of the new INEXA-based curriculum and providing increased services and support for the UND UAS program as this solid foundation will serve both organizations very well, far into the future.”

“We are thrilled to offer these exciting opportunities to our students at UND, and these state-of-the-art curriculum additions coupled with ScanEagle3 will further advance our technical capabilities at our Unmanned Aircraft System flight training complex,” said Dr. Paul Lindseth, Dean of the Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at the University of North Dakota.

Insitu’s Commercial Aviation Department will provide curriculum training and support services for UND as UND provides flights in which students experience operating as a UAV pilot, a mission commander, and a sensor operator during the flights. Additionally, UND Instructors and staff will be among the first to receive ScanEagle3 training, and ScanEagle3 will be implemented into the fleet as it becomes available.

“The ITAR-free ScanEagle3 will help us to continue to be leaders in autonomous systems and enable our UAS program to be available to international students for the first time, as the students have not been able to participate in the UAS program due to ITAR concerns,” explained Paul Snyder, Assistant Chair/Director, UAS Program, UND Aerospace.

In conjunction with the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, UND has several certificates of waiver or authorization (COA) that allow the use of ScanEagle across North Dakota.
Because of the COAs, UND and Insitu will have numerous opportunities for research and development including:

  • Developing new sensors
  • Demonstrations and aerial inspection services for oil companies
  • Providing emergency response and research supporting Minnesota wildfire reaction
  • Developing detect and avoid and Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) capabilities
  • Improving data collection
  • Providing powerline inspection
Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact