FAA releases USD2.7m ASSURE grant to support disaster response drone research

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released the third round of grants for the Alliance for System Safety of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) through Research Excellence (ASSURE). ASSURE is made up of 25 research institutions and more than a hundred industry and government partners conducting research into drone use. The FAA has awarded USD2.7 million to five universities to explore the use of drones in providing effective and efficient responses to different natural and human-made disasters. It will address coordination procedures among drone operators from federal agencies as well as state and local disaster preparedness and emergency response organizations. The five universities and their award amounts are:

University of Vermont USD 1,195,000
University of Alabama Huntsville USD 828,070
New Mexico State University USD 400,000
North Carolina State University USD 200,000
Kansas State University USD 145,000

The announcement brings the FAA total to 20 grants valued at USD21 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 community safely grow and integrate into the nation’s airspace.

Earlier in 2022, Secretary Buttigieg outlined six key innovation principles the Department of Transportation will apply when fostering transportation technologies. Specifically, while continuing to commit to the highest standards of safety across technologies, these awards demonstrate the Department’s commitment to exploring ways to leverage innovation to help communities and public sector partners through experimentation.

The FAA says more than 850,000 recreational and commercial drones are in the active drone fleet, and that number is expected to grow.

(Image: Shutterstock)

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