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FAA awards $4.4 million in drone research grants to 7 universities

Photo: PhonlamaiPhoto/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: PhonlamaiPhoto/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced $4.4 million in drone research, education and training grants to seven universities.

Research will focus on three areas:

  • electromagnetic compatibility
  • detect-and-avoid classifications
  • cybersecurity oversight.

“This funding and our ongoing partnerships with these universities will allow the FAA to safely integrate the airspace that has a growing number of diverse aircraft users,” said FAA Acting Administrator Billy Nolen.

The research initiatives and grant awardees include:

Evaluate Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Electromagnetic Compatibility

This research will assess the risks, identify drone design vulnerabilities, identify material and procedural mitigations, and propose guidance for safer electromagnetic compatibility with emitted and static fields.

  • University of North Dakota, $325,042
  • University of Kansas, $325,000
  • Drexel University, $325,830

Investigate Detect-and-Avoid Track Classification and Filtering

This research will provide proposed metrics, guidance and test methods to assess the effects of false or misleading information on detect-and-avoid capabilities. The findings will support beyond-visual-line-of-sight operations.

  • The Ohio State University, $732,441
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, $371,000
  • Mississippi State University, $330,000
  • University of North Dakota, $80,000

Illustrate the Need for UAS Cybersecurity Oversight and Risk Management

This research will address UAS cybersecurity oversight and risk management as it pertains to the National Airspace System and other FAA systems.

  • University of Kansas, $651,982
  • Oregon State University, $609,226
  • Drexel University, $608,783

Today’s announcement is the second round of Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) grants, which brings the total of 15 grants valued at $18.3 million for Fiscal Year 2022.

The ASSURE Center of Excellence is one of six that the FAA has established to help advance technology and educate the next generation of aviation professionals. Research conducted through ASSURE is focused on helping the drone market safely grow and integrate into the nation’s airspace.

More than 800,000 recreational and commercial drones are in the active drone fleet, and that number is expected to grow.

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