Postdoc Research Associate- Unmanned Aircraft Systems/Drones in Transportation Infrastructure System

Under the direction of Principal Investigators/Director of the PROSPER program at InTrans, the duties and responsibilities of the
successful candidate will be:

  • Conduct research (field, laboratory, and analytical work) and coordinate project tasks related
    to the small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAVs/sUAS/Drones) technology (i.e., platforms and mounted sensors) for transportation
    infrastructure system applications.
  • Conduct research on sUAS platforms and sUAS-mounted sensor technologies for airport pavement
    inspection and management in a university and industry setting within the project budget.
  • Conduct research on the use of sUAS for
    real-time foreign object damage (FOD) detection and identification on airport surfaces in a university and industry setting within the
    project budget.
  • Conduct research on smart and sustainable airport/highway pavement systems and unpaved roads.
  • Conduct data
    collection, cleaning, quality assurance, analysis, and model validation activities.
  • Manage multiple priorities and tasks in a
    fast-paced, deadline-driven environment.
  • Write and participate in the preparation of peer-reviewed journal papers and research
    funding proposals.
  • Participate in reporting to funders and present results to key stakeholders.
  • Work collaboratively with
    industry and academic partners involved in projects.
  • Proactively engage in discussions with other research groups to gather data and
    insights necessary to complete interdisciplinary research.
  • Communicate effectively (frequently and concisely) with the project and
    PROSPER team, supervisors, and sponsoring agencies.
  • Lead and assist/supervise undergraduate and graduate students on multiple
    research projects.
  • Keep and maintain accurate and detailed records of all research performed with excellent interpersonal skills and
    a strong work ethic.
  • Be able to work on an unconventional schedule and travel on short notice (typically day trips or 8-10 overnight
    stay) to respond to sponsoring agencies’ requests.

Must adhere to all campus and EH&S safety policies.

position is funded through competitive research grants and industry. The successful candidate will be offered a one-year contract with the
possibility of renewal for additional years. No renewal is guaranteed and will be dependent on further grant support.

Required Minimum Qualifications
Ph.D. in Engineering, Sciences, or Design (e.g., Civil Engineering (from all
sub-disciplines such as Transportation Engineering, Construction Engineering, Structural Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering,
Environmental Engineering, etc.), Aerospace Engineering, Aviation, Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical
Engineering, Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Agricultural Engineering, Remote Sensing, Geology, Geography, Aviation and
Transportation, Agronomy, Design, Architecture, City and Urban Planning, Geographic Information Systems, Urban Design, and related fields)
with an emphasis on the application of sUAS platforms and sUAS-mounted sensor technology(s) in transportation infrastructure systems and/or
pavement engineering field; Strong knowledge and experience in various sUAS-mounted sensors (including optical, thermal, Light-Detecting and
Ranging (LiDAR), radar, multi/hyperspectral sensors, and so on), and various post-processed data analysis (including orthomosaics, 3D point
clouds contours, Digital Terrain Models (DTMs), radar scans, hyperspectral data cubes, spectral profiling, 3D models, and so on);
Demonstrated knowledge and experience in artificial intelligence, machine learning, image and signal processing, statistical programming,
and other sensing data processing and analysis tools for transportation infrastructure engineering applications; Demonstrated programming
skills (or ability to learn new programming languages quickly, e.g., Python or Java) to develop codes for research projects and tasks;
Excellent technical writing skills proven by peer-reviewed journal publications and research reports are a must as the successful candidate
is expected to make significant contributions to proposals and publications; Experience managing multiple tasks/projects. Four years of
relevant research experience (including graduate research studies), as demonstrated by peer-reviewed publications.

Preferred Qualifications
Demonstrated expertise in sUAS platforms and sUAS-mounted sensor technologies for airport
pavement inspection and management; Demonstrated experience in the application of remote sensing and geospatial information systems (GIS)
technologies for solving diverse problems in transportation applications and other areas; Familiar/experienced with pavement and granular
road system; Hold the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 107 Remote Pilot license and be experienced with sUAS flight operations and
be familiar with the FAA and state transportation agencies’ regulations on sUAS flights; Demonstrated knowledge and experience in
MATLAB; Familiar or experienced with analytical and numerical analysis and software visualization tools.

Department/Program & College Description:
The Program for Sustainable Pavement Engineering and Research
(PROSPER) is a program dedicated to sustainable highway and airport pavements research under the Institute of Transportation (InTrans) at
Iowa State University. The PROSPER was founded in 2013 and has been instrumental in advancing research, education, and technology transfer
in the area of sustainable highway and airport pavement infrastructure systems.

Iowa State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, marital status, disability, or protected veteran status and will not be discriminated against. Inquiries can be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity, 3410 Beardshear Hall, 515 Morrill Road, 515-294-7612, email

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