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The AggieAir System

The AggieAir system comprises three sub-systems: the aircraft, the sensor payload, and the ground station. The aircraft is completely autonomous and navigates according to a pre-programmed flight plan. This flight plan can easily be designed to send the aircraft over an area of interest to capture using the on-board sensor payload system. The Ground Control Station (GCS) uses a wireless connection to monitor the flight and transmit high-level commands to the aircraft, which in turn sends flight information (location, speed, etc.) back to the GCS. A Safety Pilot is also included in the GCS. At any point, the Safety Pilot can take manual control of the aircraft to, for instance, avoid collision with other aircraft.


The AggieAir fleet comprises multiple complementary aircraft designs. These aircraft are completely autonomous and can be launched from anywhere. They carry the combination of cameras and sensors that are needed for each specific data collection mission.


AggieAir's flexible design utilizes a variety of cameras and sensors to provide high-resolution, multispectral imagery for a scientific applications. The sensor package is determined by the application. Current sensors include visual (red,green, blue), near-infrared (NIR), and thermal infrared (TIR) cameras. Air quality sensors and bio-telemetry sensors are currently under development, but have also been successfully flown on AggieAir.

Ground Station

The Ground Control Station (GCS) allows users to monitor and control AggieAir using a laptop computer and a wireless telemetry link. The Saftey Pilot included in the GCS can fly AggieAir manually if needed. The type and amount of equipment needed for an individual flight will depend on the area covered and the intended downstream application for which the is data acquired. 

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