Fox News Highlights Mississippi State Geosystems Research Institute and ASSURE Unmanned Aerial System Research Programs
July 18, 2017
"Just in the last 18 months, we've registered twice as many unmanned aircraft (as) we registered all aircraft from the previous 100 years," said Earl Lawrence, director of the Federal Aviation Administration's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office.
To safely integrate the vast numbers of new unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the nation's airspace, the FAA is relying on a group of 23 research institutions led by Mississippi State University. The Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) is conducting in-depth studies on virtually every aspect of drone operations, including air traffic control, pilot certification and crash avoidance.
"What happens when a drone hits a wing or a windshield or any other part of the aircraft is (one) of our key questions," Lawrence said.
In addition to studying drone strikes on aircraft, ASSURE researchers have been using crash test dummies to study the potential hazards of drones flying into, or falling on, people. According to Marty Rogers, ASSURE's executive director, drone makers have expressed interest in design changes to their aircraft to reduce the risk of collisions.
"That's pretty significant when manufacturers step up and say: 'We really need your data because we're willing to make changes on our side,'" Rogers said.
Although, many commercial drones provide live video feeds of their flights, the FAA generally requires operators to fly their drones within eyesight. But the commercial drone industry is actively preparing for a day this requirement is lifted.
"Whether it's package delivery, whether it's Arctic operations, regardless of what it is, almost every truly useful application of unmanned technology is beyond visual line of sight," Rogers said.
Mississippi State Geospatial Research Institute and ASSURE
researchers help FAA with Unmanned Aerial Systems Research