The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has named a team led by Mississippi State University as its new Center of Excellence (COE) for Unmanned Aircraft Systems. The new center will be run by MSU’s Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence, or ASSURE, which comprises top UAS research universities and over 100 government and industry partners (including VectorCSP). The COE will study technical issues needed for the successful introduction of UAS into the National Airspace System, including detect-and-avoid technology, low-altitude operations safety, control and communications, training and certification of UAS pilots, and compatibility with air traffic control operations. Other research areas may be added over time.
“This has been a six-year effort for Mississippi State and three years for our partner universities,” said ASSURE executive director James Poss, also a retired major general from the Air Force. “We picked our team because they know unmanned systems and they know the FAA. That will make it easier to turn UAS research into FAA rules quickly.”
Congress approved $5 million for the five-year agreement with the COE. The center’s academic team members will match the federal grants dollar for dollar from nonfederal sources. “This team has the capabilities and resources to quickly get up and running to help the FAA address the demands of this challenging technology over the next decade,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
“This world-class, public-private partnership will help us focus on the challenges and opportunities of this cutting-edge technology,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We expect this team will help us to educate and train a cadre of unmanned aircraft professionals well into the future.”