University of Arkansas UAS experts provide seminar on technology to state’s public agencies



On August 31, experts in UAS at the University of Arkansas provided a four-hour seminar to public agencies in the state that are considering starting UAS programs.

Members of law enforcement, first responders, inspectors, the highway department and various state engineers attended the seminar.

During the seminar, some of the topics discussed included complying with FAA laws, selection of UAS, and sensors for different types of operations.

Topics presented during the seminar included management of risk and safety management systems, as well as how to develop effective policy and guidance.

Jerry Chism, director of the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics, says that UAS are very beneficial to the state of Arkansas.

“It is really a win-win for our state,” Chism says. Chism, who sponsored the event to “improve state access to experts and improve effectiveness of state programs,” adds, “we have a wealth of knowledge and expertise in Arkansas to help us implement this new technology in a safe and cost effective manner.”  

​Attendees of the seminar were briefed on compliance issues and effective sensor use by Jack Cothren, director of the university's Center for Advanced Spatial Technology (CAST), and Richard Ham, associate director of the Master of Science programs in engineering and operations management.

Both men speak proudly about the work that the university is doing to train its students on all things UAS.

“CAST is training our next generation of students with remote sensing skills, including a course in UAS remote sensing,” Cothren says.

“We see the future and are working to prepare our students to enter the job market with the right skills.”

Ham adds, “we added a foundation course in drones to teach our students how to select and operate a UAS effectively and safely. Last year, our first class resulted in 100 percent pass rate on the FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Exam leading to over 20 students becoming FAA-certificated remote pilots as well as being trained to use data processing software.”

University experts also worked with industry representatives to showcase the newest UAS technologies, one of which included a UAS and sensor package worth almost $250,000.

In 2016, the University of Arkansas sponsored the first annual Arkansas Unmanned Aircraft Summit, which brings together “federal, state and local government, academe and industry to network on ways to improve the value of drones to the citizens of Arkansas.”

That event will take place this year on October 12.