UK UAS University added to FAA UAS research conglomerate

By Luke Geiver | June 04, 2015

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has added the U.K.’s leading unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research university to its U.S.-based National Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems. The University of Southhampton will help with detect and avoid technology, low-altitude operations safety, control and communications, spectrum management, human factors, air traffic control compatibility and the training of UAS pilots.

The University is known for its UAS design capabilities, including the world’s first 3D printed UAV. Southhampton is already a member of the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) that is also organized and chosen by the FAA to run the Center of Excellence.

“Our involvement in the ASSURE team reflects our global reputation,” Jim Scanlan, UAS team lead at the university said. “We have the capabilities and resources to help address the demands of this challenging technology and launch a new era of commercial unmanned aircraft research, development and integration.”

By September, research efforts led by the COE should be underway and by the start of 2016, a full research agenda will be finalized.

In addition to building and flying the world’s first 3D printed drone, Southhampton has the only course for UAS design. Through its DECODE (Decision Environment for Complex Design) project, the team designed, built and flew a UAV with full autonomous and on-board camera capabilities.

Southhampton joins 21 other UAS research institutions and 100 industry or government partners on the ASSURE COE work. ASSURE already sits on 14 FAA international rules and safety committees. According to ASSURE, it is already working on roughly 150 UAS research projects valued at nearly $150 million.

“We expect this team will help us to educate and train a cadre of unmanned aircraft professionals well into the future,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on the addition of Southhampton to the ASSURE team.