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Old Westbury, N.Y. (June 13, 2014) – A student-led drone demonstration and in-depth presentations about drone applications took center stage at New York Institute of Technology’s annual energy conference yesterday.>
Energy in Motion: Energy by Road, Rail, and Drone featured expert panelists on alternative energy, regional transportation challenges and solutions, and future technologies that will safely and quickly transport people and products. Conference attendees also enjoyed test drives around campus in three Tesla Model S cars, high-end electric cars with zero emissions.
Drones: Evolution and Applications
Students from the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers showcased The Osprey, a six-rotor drone they built for a national contest held by the organization. With its motors buzzing and propellers whirling, The Osprey lifted off from a patio at NYIT de Seversky Mansion, hovered momentarily, and then successfully delivered a small weight to a nearby platform before gliding through a makeshift goalpost. Student Nick Engel controlled the drone with a remote as his classmates watched and conference attendees recorded the demonstration on smartphones.
Assistant Professor James Scire, Jr., Ph.D., said the presentation “was an excellent showcase of the students’ talent and demonstrated the importance of club activities for student development.”
Scire noted that the demonstration reinforced the points that drone experts made during the conference panel on drone technology. Mary “Missy” Cummings, Ph.D., of Duke University, noted that drones are emerging as a major industry with applications ranging from artistic expression and commerce to inspections, firefighting, and resource surveillance. In England and India, companies have experimented with using drones to deliver pizzas, while in the United States, Amazon raised eyebrows in some quarters with its announcement last year that it would begin a drone-by-delivery service.
Drones save energy and reduce pollution, Cummings said, and that as the infrastructure of drone systems grows, the industry will the source of new jobs for those trained as drone engineers, ground controllers, and network supervisors. Engineers and other professionals are also working on security and safety issues as the industry expands.
“You have got to get serious about expanding your robotics program,” Cummings advised. In your local schools, primary, secondary, and college levels. You’ve got to get more of your people in these programs…it’s a real technology investment that all states need to make.”
Cummings presentation was followed by two TEDx videos by Andreas Raptopoulos and Paola Santana, co-founders of Matternet, a Silicon Valley start-up that is launching a new transportation system of drone networks to deliver small packages in remote areas.
Long Island’s Transportation Challenges
The conference opened with a sobering assessment of Long Island’s future based on a recent survey of 413 millennials who overwhelmingly agreed that they would leave Long Island because of high housing costs and an inability to find jobs aligned with their salary expectations and skills. Martin R. Cantor, Ph.D., director of the Long Island Center for Socio-Economic Policy, said Long Island’s economic problems are tied to energy and transportation challenges that affect the labor force.
Transportation experts from the Long Island Rail Road and Nassau County spoke of new improvements to the rails and roads, including an $8 billion LIRR project to provide access to Manhattan’s East Side and plans to investigate a fixed rail system that reduce traffic and emissions in central Nassau County.
The final panel explored innovations in alternative fuels and technology, including natural gas fueling stations, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and green vehicles.
Ken Daly, president, National Grid New York, said natural gas offers significant economic and environmental benefits for Long Island. The industry is growing, with
“Each year, we’re advancing the technology,” Daly said, noting that he expects to see natural gas vehicles represent five to ten percent of all vehicles in the future as gas networks are modernized and expanded.
Jessica Harrison of DNV GL, said the nation’s electric vehicle charging network is growing from individual stations to a sophisticated system that will help support the electric grid. Wireless charging prototypes also have been developed and pilot programs are underway in New York City.
The conference’s final speaker, Joseph Ambrosio, (BS, ’94), chief technical officer of Unique Technical Services, LLC, said the majority of imported fuel is used in transportation, which makes the development of more “green vehicles” important as a factor in reducing energy costs.
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 13,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.
Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, nearly 100,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit nyit.edu.
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