CU Boulder, Black Swift partner on service to researchers

BOULDER — The University of Colorado Boulder Integrated Remote and In Situ Sensing (IRISS) Initiative and Boulder-based specialized engineering firm Black Swift Technologies are partnering to provide a new service to atmospheric researchers.

The service will allow researchers to rent unmanned aircraft systems and expertise at-cost from CU IRISS and Black Swift. Through the program, researchers can focus on their work rather than what type of drone and sensors they need to gather data, what certifications they need to get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, all of which can be cost- and time-prohibitive.

Rather, all of that can be rented from CU IRISS, which has taken point on the subscription service, for a flat fee. Customers will get the equipment, FAA authorization and skilled personnel from CU IRISS. Black Swift is partnering with CU IRISS to provide its expertise in integrating sensors and in-flight management systems. The researchers will own the data collected.

The service was debuted at the International Society for Atmospheric Research using Remotely Piloted Aircraft Annual Conference, which is being held at CU Boulder.

“Our vision is to create a collaborative environment where we can be greater than the sum of our parts,” said Cory Dixon, IRISS chief technologist, in a prepared statement. “By capitalizing on our strengths in aerospace engineering and earth sciences together with Black Swift Technologies advanced flight management avionics, sensor integration and their purpose-built scientific research unmanned aircraft systems, we can support a wide range of atmospheric science initiatives at a time where rapid technological advances keep many of these capabilities out of reach of typical researchers and scientists.”