UMTC Affiliates to present research on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) at Transportation Innovation Conference


Three UMTC Research Affiliates, Dr. Michael Plotnikov, Dr. Uma Shama, and Mr. Larry Harman, will be presenting their research on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) during a joint session at the 2019 MassDOT Transportation Innovation Conference, April 9 and 10. 

Dr. Michael Plotnikov is a Research Associate at the UMass Transportation Center in Amherst.  The focus of Dr. Plotnikov’s research is on UAS and their integration into the National Airspace. At Innovation, he will discussing a research initiative with MassDOT to examine how UAS technology can potentially be integrated into bridge and rail inspections currently conducted by traditional means. The researchers in this study reviewed the standard bridge and rail inspection procedures and protocols at state DOTs around the country, and the extent to which they have integrated UAS technology into their inspections. The presentation will discuss the benefits and challenges of utilizing UAS for bridge and rail inspection purposes.  

Dr. Uma Shama, and Mr. Larry Harman have been the Co-Directors of the GeoGraphics Laboratory at Bridgewater State University (BSU) for over 20 years. Dr. Shama has a joint appointment in the BSU Department of Computer Science. At the GeoGraphics Laboratory, they have led research applications on geospatial analysis, remote sensing data collection systems, mobility management, and applications involving small UAS (sUAS). Their presentation will discuss their research to improve the safety and security of small suburban and rural commuter rail parking lots using a combination of sUAS for remote sensing, aerial imagery analytics, and cloud-based data analytics, made possible through state-of-the-art communications infrastructure. A critical objective of their research was to use commercially-available, off-the-shelf products and services that meet the budgetary constraints of rural and suburban transit systems within existing transit technical staff resources.