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Welcome to UNVAIL!

The UNcrewed Vehicle and Atmospheric Investigation Lab (UNVAIL) at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL is led by Dr. Kevin Adkins. The lab’s research involves investigating the surrounding physical world using the advantages that uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS), colloquially referred to as drones, provide. Surface-based weather sensors, such as those attached to meteorological towers, are fixed, appreciably spaced, not easily moved and only offer insight into the very 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 surface-based sensors and crewed aircraft operations.


The 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 the lab’s investigations. 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, traditional aircraft 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.

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