The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will give nearly $2.6 million in grants to universities for research into drones. The FAA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation, said the universities will comprise the agency’s Air Transportation Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems(AUS), also known as the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE).
According to the FAA, there are 1.7 million drones in the AUS fleet, which is expected to grow to 2.2 million by 2023. The grants are for enhancing the safe and successful integration of drones into American airspace.
“The research funded by these grants will provide valuable data as the Department leads the way to chart a course for the safe integration of drones into our national airspace,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said. “In addition to providing grants, we are also supporting activities that provide operational experience like the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program, all of which move us more quickly toward full integration.”
The four different grants are provided for specific projects and goals. Grants were distributed to 14 universities across the country, including the University of Alaska Fairbanks.