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Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has been doing UAS research for about two years, looking at ways to use UAS for mapping sea grass, detecting oil spills and hotspots in wild fires, monitoring hurricanes, and herd counting for ranchers.

FAA selects six sites for UAS research

After a 10-month selection process involving 25 proposals from 24 states, the U.S. FAA has chosen six unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research and test site operators across the country. In selecting the six test site operators, the FAA considered geography, climate, location of ground infrastructure, research needs, airspace use, safety, aviation experience, and risk. In totality, these six test applications achieve cross-country geographic and climatic diversity and help the FAA meet its UAS research needs. The six test site operators include: the University of Alaska, State of Nevada, New York’s Griffiss International Airport, North Dakota Department of Commerce, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). The University of Alaska’s research plan includes the development of a set of standards for unmanned aircraft categories, state monitoring, and navigation. Nevada’s project objectives concentrate on UAS standards and operations as well as operator standards and certification requirements. Griffiss International plans to work on developing test and evaluation as well as verification and validation processes under FAA safety oversight. North Dakota plans to develop UAS airworthiness essential data and validate high reliability link technology. Texas A&M plans to develop system safety requirements for UAS vehicles and operations with a goal of protocols and procedures for airworthiness testing. Virginia Tech plans to conduct UAS failure mode testing and identify and evaluate operational and technical risks areas.

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