Posted in | News | Drones and UAVs

New Studies to Explore the Role of Drones in Disaster Preparedness and Response

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) will be awarded a grant of $1.1 million of the grants worth $3.3 million awarded in the field of education, research, and training to universities that form part of Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Air Transportation Center of Excellence (COE) for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

The UAH grant is being awarded as the lead institution for disaster preparedness and response research. Image Credit: Michael Mercier/UAH.

The Center is also called the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE).

The UAH grant is being offered as the lead institution for studies on disaster preparedness and response and to offer understanding about the secure incorporation of UAS into the disaster preparedness and response areas.

The study will examine how UAS can help in disaster preparedness and response to various human-made and natural disasters. It will concentrate on processes to collaborate with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Interior, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other local, state, and federal organizations to guarantee proper coordination when such emergencies occur.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decision to award UAH a $1.1 million grant to effectively deploy drones in response to emergencies is a testament to the innovative work taking place in the Huntsville community.

Richard Shelby, United States Senator, Alabama

Shelby added, “I am grateful the Department of Transportation continues to invest in our state, promoting work that integrates education, industry and government. I look forward to the developments and research at UAH made possible by this grant.”

The FAA research grants were announced on August 6th, 2020, by Elaine L. Chao, the U.S. Transportation Secretary.

These grants will help develop a greater array of innovative strategies to more effectively deploy drones during emergency response situations,” stated Chao.

The FAA’s COE program, approved by Congress, is a cost-sharing, long-term collaboration among government, industry, and academia. The program allows the FAA to partner with center members and affiliates to carry out research in airport and airspace planning and design, aviation safety, and environment. Moreover, the COE enables the FAA to undertake other transportation-related activities.

At present, the active UAS fleet includes 1.65 million commercial and recreational drones. It is predicted that this number will increase to about 2.31 million by 2024. The aim of the ASSURE grants is to continue the successful and safe incorporation of drones into the U.S. airspace.

Collaboration is hugely important as we work to safely integrate UAS into the aerospace system. These important grants fund the research which allows us to learn and implement the safety measures associated with UAS operations in the airspace.

Steve Dickson, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration


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