IAFC 150 anniversary logo
UAS Technology & Research

The technology behind UAS is evolving at a very rapid rate. The examples and links below are a starting point to introduce you to some of the players in the development of UAS technology and operations.

Types of UAS

The most common type of UAS used in the fire service is the multi-rotor or quad-copter platform and weighs less than 55 pounds. This type gives the user flexibility to maneuver the UAS and its sensors at any altitude and position within the capability of the device and regulatory framework. These UAS are currently being used on a variety of smaller area incidents such as building fires, EMS incidents, motor vehicle crashes and hazardous materials incidents.


  • Flight time based on battery life, range based on radio reception and regulatory conditions.
  • The smaller UAS are greatly affected by wind and may be unusable during high wind conditions.

Cost range

Larger platform (greater than 55 pounds), fixed-wing UAS have proven very useful on larger area and longer duration incidents such as wildfires, hurricanes and earthquakes. These UAS do not have the same flexibility of providing low level operations, but instead provide longer duration, macro level views of large scale and long duration incidents.


  • Inability to do low level flight
  • Require a larger take-off and landing space
  • May be subject to additional regulations.

Cost range
$15,000 and up

UAS Research and Study

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Systems Applications

Master of Science in Unmanned Systems

The Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE)

A Technology Survey of Emergency Recovery and Flight Termination Systems for UAS

Influencing Factors for Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems in Support of Aviation Accident and Emergency Response

Riverside Research

Current State of UAS Standards and Regulations

University of Nevada

UAS minor and courses

Idaho State University

Three-part seminar that covers the history of the UAS, how it works and real world applications

University of North Dakota

Center for UAS Research, Education and Training

UAS Research, Development, and Design Projects

Podcasts and Media

UAS Degree Program

Kansas State Polytechnic

UAS Program

Bachelor’s Degree, UAS Academic curriculum

UAS Research

Indiana State University

UAS Program

Oklahoma State University

UAS Programs


Liberty University

School of Aeronautics: UAS (B.S.)

Unmanned Vehicle University

UAV Pilot Training

Doctorate Degree in Unmanned Systems Engineering

Masters Degree in Unmanned Systems Engineering

Middle Tennessee State University

UAS Operations Program


Ohio State University


Aerospace Research Center

  • Topics:
    • Technology
    • UAS
  • Resource Type:
    • 1-pager/ summary/ infographic
  • Organizational Author:
    • IAFC

Related Resources

  • *Dashboard URL: https://iafc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/4a203738af5148d0a33ac92d822ae1bb GIS dashboard provides state declarations and closings for the U.S. Enlarge dashboard* read more
  • Access this resource FEMA released expanded capabilities to the Resilience Analysis and Planning Tool (RAPT) related to coronavirus pandemic planning and response efforts. The tool is a free-to-use GIS web map tool that allows users to combine layers of community resilience indicators, ... read more
  • Automated vehicles (AVs) represent an emerging technology already providing consumer benefits for vehicle safety. It’s important that fire chiefs and personnel are up to date as growth and change in this technology and the regulations and standards that govern it ... read more
You are not logged in.