In recognition of this potential, NOAA has begun a concerted effort to explore UAS technology as a potential tool to meet a variety of NOAA mission requirements, including Arctic climate change, hurricane science and prediction, water resources information and marine ecosystem monitoring. This exploration is being conducted in very close partnership with NASA, as well as with other agencies, universities and the UAS industry. The NOAA UAS Project received its first direct funding in FY08, and is envisioned to grow significantly in the coming years.
This presentation will summarize the major objectives of the NOAA UAS Project, including the range of applications being addressed, and platforms and sensors being tested. It will also describe challenges associated with implementing UAS broadly and techniques being used to evaluate the cost effectiveness of UAS solutions relative to other approaches, e.g., manned aircraft, satellites, etc. The recommendations that emerge from this exploratory phase of the UAS project will inform go-no-go decisions on implementation of UAS for NOAA's long-term operations in Earth system monitoring, prediction and science.