The Aerial and Aquatic Robot Research team (AARR; pronounced “Arrgh” with an appropriately piratical drawl) began as a division of Dr. Sean Anderson’s PIRatE Lab, previously coordinated (until February 2016) by Paul Spaur. We have now evolved into a multidisciplinary group of faculty and undergraduates from across our campus and various laboratories. While all disciplines are welcomed (we typically have between 10 and 30 students working under our AARR umbrella at any one time), our membership currently draws most heavily from our Environmental Science & Resource Management (ESRM), Computer Science, and Biology programs who work to improve research and data collection through the use of unmanned systems. We focus on underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and aerial Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs aka sUAS aka drones) for both research and education with the ultimate goal of improving the management of our coastal and marine ecosystems. Our work to date has been concentrated in coastal southern California, Louisiana, and Pacific Islands but we have collaborators and collaborations across the globe.
In addition to our core environmental data collection efforts, we are also deeply interested in the wider societal perception of these technologies. We actively work to educate our colleagues in academia, resource management agency staff, elected representatives, and the general public about current technological developments. The dialog goes both ways and we are also deeply committed to true conversations about both the potential benefits and pitfalls of this rapidly-evolving technology with the wider public. Our interest in engaged dialogs proved the spark for our longitudinal assessment of the general public’s experience with and perceptions of UAVs (aka drones). AARR (in collaboration with our introductory course for undergraduates, ESRM 370) has been conducting our annual drone survey annually each spring since 2015.
Our AARR faculty frequently consult with other schools and institutions looking to launch their own robotic programs. Our first textbook will be publishing in late 2019.
Our core faculty consist of: Drs. Sean Anderson (ESRM), Kiki Patsch (ESRM), Jason Isaacs (Computer Science), Cynthia Hartley (ESRM) Rachel Cartwright (ESRM), Jason Miller (Mathematics) and Cause Hanna.