Path Home Shows 2010 Show Archive June 2010 Show 1025 Jamey Jacob - Unmanned Arial Vehicles

Jamey Jacob - Unmanned Arial Vehicles

We visit with OSU's Jamey Jacob about the future of UAVs and aerospace in Oklahoma.
Jamey Jacob - Unmanned Arial Vehicles

Rob McClendon and Jamey Jacob

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OSU School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Show Dates

Show 1025: Interview with Jamey Jacob

Air date: June 20, 2010



Rob:  Well joining me now is studio is OSU Professor, Jamey Jacob.  Well Dr. Jacob, I think it’s very interesting all the various uses that they believe we could have with these UAVs.

Jamey:  Well there are so many different applications that can use UAV, UAVs for.  Some of the examples that are just near and dear to the hearts of Oklahomans would be weather, for example.  That we can have UAVs fly into hazardous storms and we can better understand not only what is going on with the storm to make better predictions, but understand the physics of the storms better, tornadoes, hurricanes, severe thunderstorms; things that manned aircraft can’t do.  Things that are currently on the horizon, UAVs are being used for right now, are border patrol, exploration, both oil, gas, and of course, agricultural as you mentioned earlier.

Rob:  How expensive are, are these little vehicles?  You know, I always hear about airplanes costing millions and millions, are these less expensive?

Jamey:  Very small platforms, for example the ones that are being used in the military right now, tend to run tens of thousands of dollars; that includes not only the UAV, but also the control system.  We have to recall that most of these unmanned aircraft that we’re talking about right now are not autonomous, they’re not flying on their own, they’re actually being controlled by a pilot somewhere.  In the case of very small platforms that the army and marines are using overseas right now, those may range, you know, in around 10,000 to 50,000 dollars; and that also includes all of the surveillance systems and control systems that the, that the patrols have to use.

Rob:  Yeah, and I want to ask you something about what you said, you said the pilot somewhere; does that somewhere mean that there may be a pilot here in the states that’s flying something?

Jamey:  Certainly, and for most of the predators, the global hawks that are flying overseas, all the pilots are stationed out in Nevada.

Rob:  That’s fascinating, that’s fascinating.  Now with industry you did mention agriculture and, and oil and gas; how exactly would they be used there?

Jamey:  Well the unique thing about UAVs is you can put a variety of sensors onboard the aircraft.  So that way if you’re looking for example, crop health, you can have instead of a visual spectrum you can have something that measures in the infrared or ultraviolet as you fly over a crop; then, damaged crops, unhealthy crops will appear directly on the screen.

Rob:  And you believe this is the future of aviation?

Jamey:  Certainly, we know that it’s happening, the Air Force this year is training more drone pilots than they are fighter pilots.  We know that as UAVs are integrated into the national air space, as the FAA starts to work out issues with these remotely-piloted vehicles, we have to recall that all these are piloted from somewhere, a pilot is controlling them, that we’ll see the UAVs really burgeoning into a whole new industry.

Rob:  Yes, so what does that mean for your research at Oklahoma State and also the, the teaching that’s going on at Oklahoma State?

Jamey:  Well there are a lot of interesting things about UAVs, not only the controlling issues in terms of being able to pilot these, but as we get to smaller and smaller scales as UAVs become more bird-like, then we really have to understand that the design principles that we use for large aircraft don’t always apply.  Large birds tend to soar, small birds tend to flap their wings, and when we get even smaller with insects, the game really changes.

Rob:  Alright, certainly a fascinating subject and it sounds like one that just keeps on developing.

Jamey:  Yeah, I think it’s going to be a great future for Oklahoma.

Rob:  Alright, certainly appreciate you coming by.

Jamey:  Thank you.