FAA Grants $2.8 Million to Five Universities for Drone Research

The five universities that will share the FAA grant money to focus on advanced material, right-of-way rules, and flight data recorder requirements. North Dakota State University

Five universities will share $2.8 million in funding for drone research from the FAA, the agency announced Tuesday.

The universities that will share the funding are:

  • Mississippi State University
  • Wichita State University
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • University of Kansas
  • University of North Dakota

The money will be used for research, education, and training. The focus will be on:

  • Advanced material
  • Right-of-way rules
  • Flight data recorder requirements

What They Will Work On

There are concentration areas tied to each grant.

Conduct advanced materials investigation and composite material analysis for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). This is identifying, assessing, and understanding types of composites and other advanced materials used in drones and advanced air mobility.

Mississippi State University and Wichita State University will work on this.

Propose right-of-way rules for UAS operations and safety recommendations. Research to determine what right of way rules should apply to drones. Right of way rules are imposed on all aircraft to ensure safety and separation. This research will also explore drone industry standards and if drone detect and avoid programs should be used.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the University of Kansas, and the University of North Dakota will work on this.

Identify flight recorder requirements for UAS integration into the NAS. Flight recorders provide data when incidents occur. Universities charged with this task will research the flight recorder requirements for drones, including remotely piloted advance air mobility aircraft. Findings will be shared with the European Organization for Civil Aviation Equipment.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Wichita State University, and the University of North Dakota will work on this.

Why It’s Important

These research grants come as a response to more than 800,000 recreational and commercial drones in an active drone fleet, and that number is expected to grow.

The FAA’s announcement of the grants for drone research is the third round of Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) grants, which brings the total for Fiscal Year 2021 to 57 grants valued at $19.1 million.

Based in Texas, Ashley is the former Marketing Manager at FLYING and focuses deeply on training and education. She graduated from the Baylor Institute for Air Science with a Bachelor's in Aviation Science and holds an MBA specializing in Marketing. She is an also instrument rated private pilot and licensed FAA dispatcher.

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