U.S. Division of Transportation Publicizes $5.Eight Million in 33 Unmanned Plane System Analysis Grants to Universities – Drones Information


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced $ 5.8 million in grants for university research, education and training, including the FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems Competence Center (UAS), also known as the Alliance for system security of the UAS is known through Research Excellence (ASSURE).

“These universities are making great strides in fueling the Department’s efforts to safely and efficiently integrate UAS into our nation’s airspace system, and ultimately deliver new transportation solutions and economic benefits to the American people,” said Acting Secretary of Transportation Steven G. Bradbury .

The FAA’s Center of Excellence for UAS drives the administration’s transportation and economic goals that air travel offers the nation. The Center of Excellence’s UAS universities received a total of $ 5,822,990 to advance specific goals and projects.

“These universities are making great strides in promoting our efforts to safely and efficiently integrate the UAS into our country’s airspace system,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. “Each grant is designed to explore the issues that will lead to greater integration between UAS and unmanned aerial vehicles, ultimately leading to new transportation solutions and economic benefits for the American people.”

There are more than 1.7 million recreational and commercial drones in the active UAS fleet. That number is expected to grow to 2.31 million by 2024. The ASSURE grants aim to continue and improve the safe and successful integration of drones into the national airspace system (NAS).

The FAA has established 13 centers of excellence in critical thematic areas that focus on: unmanned aerial vehicle systems; alternative jet fuels and the environment; general flight safety; commercial space transport; Aircraft cabin environment and intermodal transportation research; Reduction of aircraft noise and emissions; advanced materials; general aviation research; Airworthiness assurance; Business research; Airport surface and technology; Computer modeling of aircraft structures; and technical training and human performance.

The first round of ASSURE grants for fiscal year 2021 were awarded for the following eight (8) research areas.

Airline Companies – Examine and identify the key differences between commercial air carriers and unmanned carriers

This research will provide evidence, recommendations, and insights that will improve the FAA’s understanding of the requirements for certifying large UASs for the operations of airlines.

The specific focus of this assessment will analyze the projected demand by location (e.g. rural, suburban, suburban or urban) and the feasibility of commercial UAS carriers. It also examines the role of autonomy in UAS vehicles, starting with operations in less risky areas such as rural areas to suburbs (areas outside the suburbs) and then in more populous areas of suburbs and metro areas. This research will focus on the passenger transport environment and examine the impact of this new function on the workforce.

Kansas State University – Senior University $ 220,000
University of Alaska, Fairbanks $ 150,000
North Carolina State University $ 150,000
University of North Dakota $ 130,000
Ohio State University $ 149,745

UAS Freight Operations – From Manned Cargo to UAS Cargo Operations: Future trends, performance, reliability, and security features for integration with NAS

This study will evaluate the feasibility of the UAS commercial cargo operation along with the projected demand for location. The study also details the FAA’s anticipated needs to support the further integration of the UAS cargo operations, including how greater autonomy can lead to improved levels of security.

University of Alaska, Fairbanks – Lead University $ 240,000
Kansas State University $ 125,000
University of Alabama, Huntsville $ 124,987
North Carolina State University $ 125,000
University of North Dakota $ 60,000
Ohio State University $ 124,996

High bypass UAS engine lock test

The inclusion of a large number of small unmanned aerial vehicle systems (Drones) in the NAS can present a unique threat to manned aircraft. It is necessary to determine the potential severity of Drones airborne collisions with manned aircraft in order to establish an equivalent level of safety for UAS operations. Since Drones are not similar to any other foreign object (e.g. bird, ice, volcanic ash) currently regulated by the FAA, understanding the severity of an ingestion is crucial in order to be able to assess the extent of potential harm.

Ohio State University – Lead University $ 340,000
Wichita State University $ 100,000

Small UAS (Drones) Mid-Air Collision (MAC) probability

This research focuses on analyzing the SUAS MAC probability with General Aviation (GA) and commercial aircraft. Since the severity research depends on where a collision occurred in a manned aircraft, this probabilistic research not only examines the probability of a MAC, but also the probability of a collision with various parts of a manned aircraft.

Wichita State University – Lead University $ 464,000
Kansas State University $ 220,000
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University $ 215,000
University of Kansas $ 160,000

Mitigating the risks of GPS and ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast) for UAS

This research is necessary to enable safe automated Drones navigation and safe automated Drones detection and avoidance. Unvalidated or unavailable GPS and ADS-B-In data pose security risks for automated UAS navigation as well as for the detection and avoidance of processes. Incorrect, falsified, jammed or missing GPS data can lead to unmanned aircraft position and navigation being incorrect.

University of North Dakota – Lead University $ 325,000
Kansas State University $ 135,000
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University $ 135,000
Oregon State University $ 100,000
University of Alaska, Fairbanks $ 135,000

Shielded UAS Operations – Detect and Avoid (DAA)

This research is designed to identify risks and recommend solutions for the FAA that allow screened UAS operations such as flying in close proximity to existing obstacles and not exceeding the height of the obstacle. These efforts identify risks, determine whether shielded operations can be made safe, how much the requirements to detect and avoid UAS can be reduced, and recommend UAS clearance distances from manned aircraft and ground obstructions, including buildings and air traffic control towers.

University of North Dakota – Lead University $ 430,000
Kansas State University $ 110,000
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University $ 150,000
New Mexico State University $ 140,000
North Carolina State University $ 95,000

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