Embry-Riddle researchers receive federal grant to improve drone safety

·1 min read

Researchers at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University recently received a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to improve drone safety.

The $371,000 grant will be used to study the detection systems of uncrewed aerial systems (UAS), or drones, to improve the safety of their operation.

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“The research will inform the development of standards and requirements for the accuracy of detect-and-avoid systems, which will improve safety, especially in scenarios where there are multiple UAS operating in the same airspace,” said Dr. Richard Prazenica, principal investigator of the project, associate professor and associate chair of the Department of Aerospace Engineering. “For example, a radar system might detect and track birds, which could be mistakenly identified as another vehicle that poses a collision threat. If too much false information is presented, it can overwhelm a human operator, making it difficult to discern real threats from false ones.”

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“I think that advanced air mobility and unmanned aerial systems will be a defining aspect of the 21st century, but before that can happen, a great deal of time and effort must be put into making sure that when the first aircraft start to fly, people won’t get hurt,” said Nathan Schaff, Ph.D. candidate and project researcher. “For this project, we are fundamentally focused on maximizing safety, and there’s no greater job than that.”

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The project, which will continue through March of 2024, is a collaboration between Embry-Riddle, Mississippi State University, Ohio State University, University of North Dakota and CAL Analytics.

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