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Drone Research Gets $2.7M Boost from FAA

Money for universities.

I’m not against universities getting funding to help enable and promote the use of drones in the field of emergency management. My only desire is that whatever they are doing has direct application to emergency management that translates quickly into systems and capabilities that emergency management and first responders can use.

Too many times Ivory Tower folks study something that does not have a direct application in the field. Let’s make the work directly applicable and translatable to field use!

See the announcement below:

FAA Awards $2.7M in Drone Research to Support Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Response

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded $2.7 million to support research on how drones can assist in disaster preparedness and in emergencies.

“Every second counts in an emergency, and this funding will allow drones to safely and more quickly deploy in moments when minutes matter,” said Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen.

The research will explore the use of drones in providing effective and efficient responses to different natural and human-made disasters. It will address coordination procedures among drone operators from federal agencies as well as state and local disaster preparedness and emergency response organizations. The five universities and their award amounts are:

University of Vermont 


University of Alabama Huntsville


New Mexico State University   


North Carolina State University


Kansas State University


Today’s announcement is the third round of Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) grants, which brings the total to 20 grants valued at $21 million for Fiscal Year 2022.

The ASSURE Center of Excellence is one of six that the agency has established to help advance technology and educate the next generation of aviation professionals. Research conducted through ASSURE is focused on helping the drone community safely grow and integrate into the nation’s airspace."

Earlier in 2022, Secretary Buttigieg outlined six key Innovation Principles the Department of Transportation will apply when fostering transportation technologies. Specifically, while continuing to commit to the highest standards of safety across technologies, these awards demonstrate the Department’s commitment to exploring ways to leverage innovation to help communities and public sector partners through experimentation.

More than 850,000 recreational and commercial drones are in the active drone fleet, and that number is expected to grow.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.