WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today participated in a hearing on the future of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also known as drones.
Wicker used his time for questions to highlight the research being conducted at the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Center of Excellence (COE), which is led by Mississippi State University. Wicker also questioned how Mississippi State’s expertise could be leveraged as policymakers and the FAA seek to integrate greater use of unmanned aircraft into national airspace.
“There is a Center of Excellence, comprised of 22 of the world’s leading research institutions called ASSURE, the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence. This Center of Excellence is led by Mississippi State University,” said Wicker. “How will the FAA utilize the product and the research of ASSURE, and does our FAA reauthorization bill adequately address this issue?”
In response, the FAA’s director of the Office of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Earl Lawrence, said, “The Center of Excellence, and ASSURE, is really key to our applied research for the FAA. That research plan links directly to every policy and rulemaking activity that we need to do to fully integrate UAS.”
Lawrence later went on to say, “The COE is supporting industry as well, which is also a very important step as we’ve mentioned.” He also confirmed that the FAA reauthorization bill being considered by Congress adequately addresses the COE’s needs.