BLISS team members go to OSU UAS Weather Technology Forum

The Oklahoma State Univeristy Unmanned Systems Research Institute hosted the UAS Weather Technology Forum workshop on the OSU Tulsa campus in mid-August 2022. Three BLISS team members took the ~2-hour trip north-east to be there and share some of the work happening down here in Norman. While the workshop was relatively small, a lot of information and knowledge sharing was packed into two days of sessions, meals, a happy-hour mixer, and even an event with the OK and AR governors.

Connor Bruce, Tony Segales, and Elizabeth Smith represented the BLISS team at the event in Tulsa, which we lovingly grew to call the UAS-WTF. Given the early start for sessions Tuesday morning, we decided to hit the road right after work Monday. We were greeted in Tulsa by a nice sunset outside the hotel windows.

Sunset view over the Blue Dome district of Tulsa, Oklahoma as viewed from the Hyatt Regency Downtown.
Sunset view over the Blue Dome district of Tulsa, Oklahoma as viewed from the Hyatt Regency Downtown.
Elizabeth (left), Connor (center), and Tony (right) shared a dinner in Tulsa upon arrival, which may have included frozen libations, to prepare for the coming days of the meeting.
Elizabeth (left), Connor (center), and Tony (right) shared a dinner in Tulsa upon arrival, which may have included frozen libations, to prepare for the coming days of the meeting.

Elizabeth promptly wrapped up dinner to hurry to the hotel and finish her presentation––the first participant presentation of the workshop no less. Nothing like procrastination as a motivator. The next morning we all headed off to the OSU-WTF. The workshop went well, with all three of our talks well-received. Elizabeth covered the NOAA-related processes to fly the Coptersonde in PERiLS and showed some first glance data. Tony highlighted some big successes of the Coptersonde, where it is headed, and other platform development ongoing with NSSL and the ARRC. Connor discussed his research into forecaster adoption of Coptersonde data and its potential impacts to their work.

Elizabeth presenting at the OSU-WTF.
Elizabeth presenting at the OSU-WTF.
Tony presenting at the OSU-WTF.
Tony presenting at the OSU-WTF.
Connor presenting at the OSU-WTF.
Connor presenting at the OSU-WTF.

Overall, we were pleased to share the work we are doing and get to introduce the BLISS group as the new home to the Coptersonde at this workshop. This was an excellent opportunity to start the process of re-associating the work the Coptersonde does (and will do) with OU, CIWRO, and NSSL by connecting it directly to BLISS. We are excited by all the new doors this opens; Connor’s work is a prime example of new applications.

OSU-WTF participants lean in for a selfie with Tony -- Elizabeth was in the hall on the phone, but Tony would have blocked her with his head anyway, like he did Connor.
OSU-WTF participants lean in for a selfie with Tony – Elizabeth was in the hall on the phone, but Tony would have blocked her with his head anyway, like he did Connor.

Positive reception from the community encourages us that we are on the right path, and that we fill an important space in the weather and small UAS enterprises. The Coptersonde is certainly one of the if not the most advanced platforms presented at the workshop, especially regarding published standards. We are excited to continue to expand that work and bring it to more science applications! Meeting folks like the ones we met at this workshop will help us do just that. We are glad to have gotten the chance to share our work and a drink or two with people like them.

The BLISS team enjoys a beer out at a local pub with another participant from a NOAA partner office.
The BLISS team enjoys a beer out at a local pub with another participant from a NOAA partner office.

Finally, the governors of Oklahoma and Arkansas happened to stop by during the workshop to sign a memo of understanding between the states to initate a partnership for Advanced Mobility, which would include uncrewed aircraft. As the article released by the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology describes this effort aims to “position the Oklahoma-Arkansas region as a national hub for advanced mobility (AM) with the support of partners Tulsa Innovation Labs and Runway Group. The collaborative effort to support the growth of the AM industry, including drones, electric and autonomous vehicles, battery manufacturing, and transportation and logistics solutions, will create new research and testing space, support local AM startups, attract new companies, and convene industry corporations to test and scale new technologies.” This same article goes on to mention that the effort will also leverage the region’s rich ecosystem of academic and research partners such as the University of Oklahoma’s National Weather Center… which just so happens to be our home!

Governors Asa Hutchinson and Kevin Stitt sign the official agreement on Advanced Mobility between their respective states of AR and OK.
Governors Asa Hutchinson and Kevin Stitt sign the official agreement on Advanced Mobility between their respective states of AR and OK.

You can read more about the agreement on Advanced Mobility here.

You can read more about the OSU-UAS-WTF here.

Dr. Elizabeth N. Smith
Dr. Elizabeth N. Smith
Research Meteorologist

Elizabeth joined NSSL as a research meteorologist in January 2020, where she focuses on boundary-layer processes relevant to near- and pre-storm environments and convection initiation.

Antonio R. Segales
Antonio R. Segales
Ph.D. Candidate

My research centers around developing small unmanned aircraft systems for adaptive atmospheric sampling which involves CAD modeling, systems optimization, hardware and software integration, and control theory. I have led the design of the CopterSonde series of vehicles, which is used to perfrom controlled and targeted weather sampling at high temporal and spatial resolutions. I am also advising other projects in which sensor integration or new UAS are required.

Connor Bruce
Connor Bruce
M.S. Student