The EDGE Policy Board considers the research and technology commercialization needs of Oklahoma businesses and industries as it decides how to invest the earnings from the EDGE endowment.
This page will provide summaries of those research needs as identified by Oklahoma business sectors. To have EDGE consider entries for this page please send a descriptive paragraph to EDGE@okedge.org
Research Needs of Oklahoma’s Private Sector
The aerospace industry is one of the largest employers in the State of Oklahoma. Oklahoma is a recognized leader in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of both military and commercial aircraft. In addition, a large number of smaller Oklahoma companies support the aerospace industry by producing a variety of aircraft parts and by providing a variety of services to the aerospace industry.
In order to support Oklahoma’s existing aerospace industry, it is important to invest in research and development in areas such as non-autoclave and rapid-cure composite materials, new and innovative coating technologies such as powder coating and nano-materials, “green” technology to support aircraft manufacturing and MRO, and new and innovative sensor technology and processes for non-destructive inspection (NDI). Other opportunities include innovative technology and processes to support next generation navigation and air traffic management.
There are many research opportunities in the UAS industry. Some of these opportunities include new energy storage technology such as fuel cells, multi-function materials and structures, innovative techniques and algorithms for unmanned vehicle collaboration such as swarming and teaming, and new engineering concepts that enable smaller biomimetic air vehicle designs. Other research opportunities include new concepts that enable and facilitate test and evaluation of new UAS technology as well as research to assist the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with the development of policy and regulations for integration of UAS technology within the national airspace.
Oklahoma is well-positioned to respond to the emerging unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) industry. The size of the UAS industry may reach $25 billion a year within the next five years and represents one of the most dynamic areas of growth in the aerospace industry. UAS industry opportunities can help ensure the health and long-term viability of Oklahoma’s aerospace industry.
1. Weather Radar
• Development of applications using the dual-polarization capabilities being installed on National Weather Service radars.
Creation of new and/or improved (less noisy) application products to take advantage of dual-polarized radar capabilities, for example, improved estimates of precipitation amounts, and identification of meteorological (precipitation type) and non-meteorological target (smoke, dust; birds, bugs, bats) represents a commercial opportunity for Oklahoma companies. In addition to developing the enhanced applications themselves, achieving the greatest benefit from the resulting information will require development of a cost-effective mechanism for making the dual polarization data readily available in near-real time to a wide community of users.
• Development and testing of innovative radar software.
Creating and testing software for the full spectrum weather radars (including profilers as well as surveillance radars) offers significant research and development opportunities for Oklahoma companies. This software could include:
Innovative signal processing techniques,
Collaborative/dynamic adaptive control systems for observing networks that in addition to radar could include:
There are strong indications of a forthcoming national program to develop large multifunction phased array radars (MPAR). These radars would ultimately serve as the follow-on replacement for current National Weather Service and Federal Aviation Administration radar systems. Oklahoma companies could develop the capability and be poised to capitalize on the federal R&D that will be invested in developing software to run on this innovative weather radar.
Design, prototype and manufacture of small surveillance radars.
There are now many potential applications for small radars, for example, as single radars (TV stations, small airfield) or mesoscale network deployment (“gap fillers” among the coverage of large radar; monitoring urban dispersion of pollutants or other materials; and installing and operating wind farms). With increased research and design capabilities, Oklahoma companies could exploit a potential specialty niche for rapidly deployable mobile radars for critical applications (e.g. wildfire fighting, debris flow in floodwaters or pollution events, back-up to damaged systems). Also, these small radars may eventually serve important roles in the transition of technology from traditional scanning systems to phased array systems.
In addition to the research and design of these small radars, Oklahoma businesses could position themselves advantageously by designing innovative profiling radars (vertically pointing radars used to obtain the vertical profile of the horizontal wind from surface through the lower atmosphere), including ones that are mobile and/or able to be installed rapidly.
2. Precision weather forecasting tools and techniques:
With increased research and development to enhance their market position, Oklahoma companies could create tools and techniques to support “warn on forecast” operations. These techniques would include novel data assimilation and modeling, analysis, and display tools. In addition, research and development could profitably be focused on targeted precision forecasting, over time scales of up to 24 hours, for particular audiences: wind – wind energy, agricultural irrigation, and spraying; sunshine intensity – solar energy; wind/wave – ship and boat operations, surfers and other water recreations; temperature – energy transmission and use.
Oklahoma businesses could benefit from the development of weather support tools for mission planning and execution for commercial unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations in the U.S.
Novel data assimilation and modeling tools by Oklahoma companies would permit the exploitation of data from Oklahoma Mesonet and the new Central Oklahoma Urban Micronet, starting with simple extrapolation tools and moving to full scale modeling. Similar networks are appearing selected cities and the notion of a national mesonet is in discussion in the Congress, so such tools could quickly have national applications.
3. Novel visualization systems and making weather and climate information personal
With increased research and technology commercialization, Oklahoma companies could exploit several markets for selling visualized weather information, such as on Google Earth and similar universal display systems, GIS platforms of all types, and three- and four-dimensional displays for composited radar and satellite data. Further technology development by the private sector could exploit current trends to merge cell phones, personal data assistants (PDA), and personal location devices (GPS) in single personal devices (e.g., I-Phones and similar devices); support weather and climate in social networking systems (e.g., Facebook, Twitter);and tailor weather information to specific audiences (e.g., weather for drivers in private automobiles).
If you wish more information about the research needs as identified by the Oklahoma business sector, please contact Rachel Waldrop Holzhauser at firstname.lastname@example.org.