The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last week announced the selection of Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence ASSURE, a consortium of universities headed by Mississippi State University (MSU), to lead the newly-designated FAA Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS COE).
ASSURE is tasked with identifying issues critical to the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the nation’s airspace and engaging in research and policy development on the growing use of unmanned aerial systems. Mississippi State Univ. heads the consortium of 15 universities from across the country that have shown a commitment to UAS research & development.
At a press conference last week, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, MSU President Mark Keenum and consortium members joined U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS), John Hoeven (R-ND), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and U.S. Representatives Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Gregg Harper (R-MS) to discuss the next steps and goals for the COE UAS.
“Unmanned aircraft technology is here to stay, and we are all excited that our states will have an active role in figuring out the safest and most efficient way to incorporate this evolving technology into our airspace to assist on issues ranging from precision agriculture to disaster recovery,” said Sen. Cochran. “We are interested in continuing to support what will be a collaborative process to address the complicated nature of integrating unmanned aircraft into our national airspace system, as well as privacy and other issues that arise with their use.”
The directive to the FAA to establish the national center has been included in congressional appropriations bills since FY2012, with Congress appropriating $5.0 million to support a five-year agreement with the COE UAS. Federal funding will be matched by ASSURE team members.
The FAA expects the COE to begin research in 2015 and be fully operational in 2016 in its exploration of evolving new technological developments regarding unmanned aircraft and their uses, including detect-and-avoid technology, low-altitude operations safety, privacy safeguards and other areas. Research will also involve the deployment of UAS for emergency response, biofuel and clean fuel technologies, law enforcement activities, and agricultural and environmental monitoring.
Listen to the announcement here: [wpaudio url=”http://www.zimmcomm.biz/government/uas-coe-news-conference.mp3″ text=”UAS COE News Conference”]