Drones may fight invasive species–with cameras

Capital News Service

LANSING — Invasive plants can grow so thick and tall they hide the world’s greatest Lakes. “In the lower part of the state it’s pretty bad,” said Laura Bourgeau-Chavez, a research scientist with Michigan Technological University. “We were doing work in Saginaw Bay, and there are kids who live there and they don’t even know there’s water there because the weeds are so tall. “So they’re unable to take advantage of the fact that they live next to a Great Lake.”
Help is on the way. Bourgeau-Chavez maps wetlands and monitors them in the field.

Drones in Michigan skies raise hopes, concerns

Capital News Service
LANSING – Amid a roiling national debate about U.S. military-targeted drone strikes abroad and privacy concerns at home, some higher education institutions in Michigan are seeking authorization to fly their own unmanned aircraft for testing and research. Public entities like universities and police departments need approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use unmanned aircraft outside of a lab, even when flying under 400 feet. Among them are the University of Michigan and Northwestern Michigan College. The FAA released an updated list of drone applicants – which included authorizations to fly for both schools – after a lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in San Francisco. But both U of M authorizations on the list have expired, said Ella Atkins, a professor of aerospace engineering.