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FAA Awards $4.4M in Drone Research Grants to 7 Universities

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April 15, 2022

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced awarding $4.4 million in drone research, education and training grants to seven universities. The research will focus on three areas – electromagnetic compatibility, detect-and-avoid classifications, and cybersecurity oversight.

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 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 Billy Nolen, acting administrator of the FAA.

The research initiatives and grant awardees include:

  • Evaluate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) electromagnetic compatibility. The 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. Universities awarded grants include University of North Dakota, University of Kansas, and Drexel University.
  • 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 (BVLOS) operations. Universities awarded grants include The Ohio State University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Mississippi State University and the University of North Dakota.
  • 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. Universities awarded grants include University of Kansas, Oregon State University and Drexel University.

The announcement was the second round  of the 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. Research conducted through ASSURE is focused on helping the drone market safely grow and integrate into the nation’s airspace, the FAA said. More than 800,000 recreational and commercial drones are in the active drone fleet, with that number expected to grow.


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