10.22.14

SCHUMER PUSHES FAA TO DESIGNATE GROUP OF UNIVERSITIES THAT INCLUDES SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY A ‘CENTER OF EXCELLENCE’ FOR UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS – PRESTIGIOUS DESIGNATION WOULD ALLOW UNIVERSITY TO CONDUCT UAS RESEARCH, EDUCATION & TRAINING IN CENTRAL NEW YORK

As Part of Center of Excellence, Syracuse University Would Work With Other Leading Universities & Industry Partners to Develop Safer Ways to Integrate UAS Technology into National Airspace System

Consortium Consists of 9 Universities 12 University Affiliates & More Than 80 Agency, Industry Partners Across U.S. – SU Would Be Positioned to Provide Specialized Research in Communications, Policy Applications & More As UAS Subcontractor


Schumer: ‘Center of Excellence’ Designation Would Enhance Syracuse University’s Connection to Burgeoning UAS Industry

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to designate a consortium consisting of a number of universities, including Syracuse University, a Center of Excellence (COE) in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Schumer explained that, this year, the FAA plans to select one COE, that will consist of a group of world-class universities, to conduct UAS related research, education, and training while working to address the challenges and barriers to the safe integration of UAS technology into the National Airspace System (NAS). The consortium that Syracuse University is a part of—called the Center of Excellence for Research for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (CORUS)—includes nine partner universities, 12 university affiliates, and more than 80 agency and industry partners throughout the United States and Upstate New York. As part of this consortium, Syracuse University would be positioned to provide specialized research in the areas of communication and control, detection, policy applications, and more. Schumer said CORUS would be a top-notch pick for the FAA, and noted that Syracuse University would be particularly well-positioned to contribute to the COE due to its proximity to Griffiss and relationship with NUAIR.

“Central New York is already a leader in unmanned aircraft research and enterprise, but being designated part of a ‘Center of Excellence’ would help take the region’s efforts to the next level,” said Schumer. “Syracuse University, through its connection to NUAIR, is part of the fabric of the unmanned aircraft industry in the region, but this FAA designation would enable it to play an even greater role by contributing to research and development in a variety of relevant fields. Syracuse University is a world-class institution, and I have no doubt the FAA will recognize all that Syracuse has to add to this potential ‘Center of Excellence’ as it considers the consortium’s application.”

    

Schumer explained that the COE will be dedicated to informing policies, rules, and best practices for safe integration of UAS. CORUS will bring together top researchers from nine campuses, as well as industrial partners who are committed to providing financial support as well as employee expertise, opportunities for student internships, and other collaborative enterprises. At this time, the FAA is committing $1 million to cover the first two years of research and related activities, which will be conducted during fiscal years 2015 and 2016. The minimum funding level guaranteed to the COE will be $500,000 per year. According to the FAA, the selection of a COE is expected in early 2015.

Schumer said that Syracuse University would serve as a liaison for other members and affiliated industries wishing to work with the FAA UAS test site at Griffiss International Airport (NUAIR). Syracuse University would also be positioned to provide specialized research as a subcontractor in the following areas: control and communication (sensing, wireless communications, mobile networks, secure networks, open source control systems); detection and data processing (helping track and classify aerial objects or events); human factors (User interfaces, decision making); legal and policy applications (privacy, mapping, journalism, data management); and alternative uses of UAS such as journalism, photography, the arts, and civil engineering.

The primary university partners of the consortium are: Georgia Tech, Brigham Young University, University of Colorado Boulder, California Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, Purdue, Texas A&M University, and University of Washington. Schumer said that the Center of Excellence program’s research, development, and education activities remain essential to solving our nation’s critical aviation challenges and providing vital solutions to operational problems in the transportation field. Schumer said that the CORUS team is dedicated to leveraging these combined resources and has the expertise needed to provide fundamental solutions to existing and anticipated UAS related issues.

Schumer explained that if CORUS is selected as the COE for UAS, it could lead to more test flights out of Griffiss, since the FAA expects any flight testing the COE wants to perform will occur at one or more of the six national test sites FAA selected last year, of which Griffiss is one.

Schumer has long been an advocate for bringing UAS jobs and technology to Central New York. In 2011, Schumer fought to increase the number of test sites in the National Airspace System for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) from 4 to 6, which paved the way for NUAIR to apply. Through local meetings with NUAIR officials, a series of personal phone calls and meetings with FAA Administrator Huerta and Transportation Secretary Foxx, Schumer worked to make the case that the FAA should select NUAIR’s application, led by Griffiss International Airport, to be one of the six national test sites for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) designation, and the FAA and DOT eventually heeded Schumer’s call.

A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to the FAA Administrator and the Director of the FAA’s COE program appears below:

Dear Administrator Huerta and Director Watts,

I write in support of the CORUS (Center of Excellence for Research for Unmanned Aircraft Systems) team’s proposal to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS-COE) for fiscal year (FY) 2015. CORUS is a highly qualified and capable consortium of university, industry, and agency partners who will address the challenges and barriers to the safe integration of UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS).

The CORUS team consists of nine universities, 12 university affiliates, and more than 80 agency and industry partners located throughout the United States that represent the best and the brightest minds dedicated to informing policies, rules, and best practices for UAS safe integration.  This center will bring together top researchers from the nine campuses, which have extensive experience working in key UAS research areas.  In addition, our industrial partners are committed to providing financial support as well as employee expertise, opportunities for student internships, and other collaborative enterprises.

The partner universities have extensive prior experience in working with the FAA, hail from states that represent pressing needs for improved air transportation services and facilities, and epitomize the distinct research strengths necessary to successfully carry out this proposal:

•                              Georgia Tech, who will be the administrative lead of CORUS, contributes its globally recognized aerospace program and decades of experience with UAS research; 

•                              Brigham Young University (BYU), currently a co-leader in a National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, has a strong background in guidance, control, and navigation of UAS; 

•                              The University of Colorado Boulder leverages its strong aerospace engineering program, co-leadership with BYU in the NSF center, and extensive experience flying UAS over the continental U.S.; 

•                              The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) brings its strong aerospace educational background as well as particular strengths related to certification of complex automation systems; 

•                              The University of Michigan celebrates its Centennial in aerospace research and education this year and has been a major contributor to UAS research and education through its internationally-awarded student research teams;

•                              The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) has strengths and leadership in robotics and UAS, along with unique facilities to allow rapid prototyping and testing of UAS concepts; 

•                              Purdue with both an aerospace engineering program consistently ranked in the top 5 US universities and an aviation technology program that contributes leading edge UAS research, education and operational capabilities; 

•                              Texas A&M University serves as a research and development leader of a recently designated FAA UAS Test Site and a new research Center for Autonomous Vehicles, calling on two decades of UAS research and operations and a wealth of specialized UAS facilities;

•                              The University of Washington relies on 100 years’ worth of aerospace research and education legacy; UW’s undergraduates participate in an internationally recognized Capstone design class for UAS that culminates in flight test of the designs; and

•                              Finally, the team is supported by affiliate universities that will participate in a more tailored way, typically in partnership with nearby core universities.  These include Arizona State University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Central Florida, Colorado State University, University of Hawaii, Middle Georgia State College, Northwest Michigan College, Syracuse University, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, University of Texas at Arlington, Utah Valley University; and Washington State University.

The Center of Excellence program’s research, development, and education activities remain essential to solving our nation’s critical aviation challenges and providing vital solutions to operational problems in the transportation field.  The CORUS team is dedicated to leveraging these combined resources and expertise to provide fundamental solutions to existing and anticipated UAS related issues.  I encourage your support of this proposal in the FY 2015 competition.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

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