MISSOULA – A new office at the University of Montana offers resources for researchers, entrepreneurs and hobbyists interested in using unmanned aerial systems, also known as drones.
The Autonomous Aerial Systems Office will celebrate its launch with a public fly-in on UM’s Oval from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday, March 3. Members of the public and the UM community are invited to bring their own UASs to practice flying under a closed safety net. AASO’s small drones also will be available for the public to fly, and staff members will provide safety and flying instruction.
Part of the Broader Impacts Group in UM’s Office of Research and Creative Scholarship, AASO was created to strengthen understanding and decision-making about UAS use in a constantly evolving research and regulatory environment; to establish the infrastructure and resources for sustainable UAS research and creative scholarship; and to stimulate UAS-related innovation, entrepreneurship and workforce development in Montana.
“As the popularity of UASs grows in research and in recreation, UM can play a vital role in ensuring that Montanans have the knowledge and resources they need to use them,” said Jen Fowler, AASO director. “We’re responding to an urgent need for public awareness about safety and regulations, but our mission is to facilitate UAS use in support of UM research, creative scholarship and entrepreneurship.”
“The Autonomous Aerial Systems Office is a wonderful new development for UM and for Montana,” said Holly Truitt, director of UM’s Broader Impacts Group. “It opens access to new technologies and provides pathways into new research and learning opportunities, both for the UM community and for the public.”
AASO’s fly-in on the Oval is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring their drones. More information on AASO is online at http://www.umt.edu/aaso/.