Advancing UA in agriculture will require investment in research and education to achieve the true potential of this emerging technology. In addition, advancing the technology will require multi-disciplinary teams of engineers and scientists to reconcile the complexity of unmanned aircraft that move in a 4-D world (3-D space plus time), combined with autonomous control systems, integrated payload packages with multi-mode sensors, handling “big data” generated from UA operations, and making informed decisions from the synthesized information. In a sense, this will involve a “systems approach,” combined with a foundation of engineering and technology to advance agricultural UA in an efficient manner. Accomplishing this will require that the proposed Unmanned Aerial Systems committee engage with existing ASABE committees to optimize integration of technologies and minimize duplication of effort. In addition, there are additional technical challenges in terms of UA integration into the national air space. These tend to be focused on airframe design, flight characteristics, methods to resolve “see and avoid,” use of UA as an active part of agriculture production, as well as a host of challenges that will require agricultural engineering expertise and likely the development of industry standards in collaboration with existing ASABE committees. Given the technical nature of agricultural UA research and development, and the demand for “systems thinking,” it is our opinion that ASABE represents the right organizational home for agriculturally focused UA research and education. A survey of existing ASABE communities reveals that there aren’t currently any that are focused on this evolving opportunity. In addition, it is our considered opinion that a new technical committee entitled “Unmanned Aerial Systems” (within the Machinery Systems community and possibly identified as MS-60) would be the preferred approach to advancing this emerging opportunity. Request: The following ad hoc committee hereby requests that this petition to establish a new technical committee entitled “Unmanned Aerial Systems” within the Machinery Systems community be considered by ASABE. Scope: “Addresses the development and application of unmanned aerial systems, and associated autonomous control systems, integrated multi-mode sensor payloads, data links and communication systems, and synthesis of UA derived data across the scope of Society interests."
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