FAA awards Embry-Riddle, ASSURE UAS research funds

By Ann Bailey | October 22, 2015

Research to provide the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration with information to integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the air space is ramping up at Embry-Riddle University.

“We are funded and we are active,” said Richard Stansbury, Embry-Riddle principal investigator and ASSURE air traffic lead. Embry-Riddle is one of 21 universities that makes up the FAA's Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence or ASSURE formed earlier this year. 

“With each project, each university fills in their niche to achieve the overall goal of the project,” Stansbury said.

The research is being conducted on Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach, Prescott and Worldwide campuses, he said. The research, conducted within the framework of the Alliance, will help create rules that will ensure the safe integration of UAS into the national air system..

“The mission is to give the FAA data so they develop rules, so the integration of the aircraft into the air space is done safely and responsibly,” Stansbury said.

Embry-Riddle is supporting three of the seven tasks awarded to ASSURE core institutions, including:

Embry-Riddle, project leader North Carolina State University, Mississippi State University, Oho State University, Oregon State University and the University of North Dakota are studying the role surveillance technology plays in UAS’s ability to detect and avoid aircraft. The universities also will examine the adequacy of existing airborne surveillance equipment as applied to UAS operations.

Embry-Riddle, together with project leader Kansas State University-Salinas and Montana State University, is focusing on UAS maintenance. The project will provide an analysis of maintenance operations and considerations that differ from manned aircraft.  The goal of the research is to gain a better understanding of what it takes to determine the air-worthiness of UAS.

Embry-Riddle is partnering with project leader University of Alabama-Huntsville, Mississippi State University and the University of Kansas in studying the risks to people and property. Feng Zhu, principal investigator from EMU, is leading a team studying and using a wide variety of advanced stimulation tools, the level of risk to people on the ground in the event of a UAS failure.