The FAA has awarded a total of $2.7 million to support research on using unmanned aerial systems (UAS/drones) to assist in disaster preparedness and emergency response operations. The funding will go to five universities including the University of Vermont, the University of Alabama Huntsville, New Mexico State University, North Carolina State University and Kansas State University. According to the agency, the research will focus on coordination procedures between drone operators from federal agencies along with state and local disaster preparedness and emergency response organizations.
“Every second counts in an emergency, and this funding will allow drones to safely and more quickly deploy in moments when minutes matter,” said acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen.
The grants are the third round to come from the FAA’s Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE), which is one of six Centers of Excellence established by the agency to “help advance technology and educate the next generation of aviation professionals.” To date, ASSURE has awarded $21 million, divided among 20 grants, for fiscal year 2022. The FAA noted that research conducted through ASSURE is aimed at “helping the drone community safely grow and integrate into the nation’s airspace.”