About Us:

Welcome to the website for the UNmanned Vehicle and Atmospheric Investigation Lab (UNVAIL) led by Dr. Kevin Adkins at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL. Our research involves investigating our surrounding physical world using the advantages that unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), colloquially referred to as drones, provide. Ground-based sensors, such as those attached to meteorological towers, are fixed, appreciably spaced, not easily moved and only offer insight into the near-surface environment. In contrast, an instrumented UAS offers the ability to make on-demand measurements in a more continuous manner with high spatial resolution across vast horizontal and vertical distances, including at intermediate heights between the domains of ground-based sensors and manned aircraft operations. This lowest layer of the atmosphere, directly influenced by the Earth's surface, is the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) and this is the domain of direct interest in the majority of our lab activities. In addition to better understanding this historically undersampled portion of the atmosphere, we are also interested in better characterizing this region in order to enable new aviation operations. To date, aerial vehicles have quickly passed through the ABL en route to higher cruising altitudes. However, burgeoning advanced air mobility (AAM) operations now envision this domain for sustained aircraft operations.