FAA Awards Drone Research Grants to Seven Universities

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on FAA Awards Drone Research Grants to Seven Universities

Playing catch up on regulating the burgeoning drone industry.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today 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, and cybersecurity oversight.

The FAA has badly lagged on regulating drones, but their ongoing popularity with consumers and businesses are now a pressing issue. The universities receiving grants are University of North Dakota, University of Kansas, Drexel University, The Ohio State University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Mississippi State University and Oregon State University.

This 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 agency 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.

Research Initiatives and Grant Awardees

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  

“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.

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