Hancock County, MS | P.O. Box 2267 Bay St. Louis, MS 39521 | 706 Highway 90 | Waveland, Mississippi 39576 | Toll Free: 800.558.1658  | Phone: 228.467.9231 | Fax: 228.467.9341
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ASSURE research to help make unmanned aircraft flight safe

May 5, 2016

The Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) is managing the research that will help the FAA make the rules and establish the procedures for safely flying unmanned aircraft systems.

Led by Mississippi State University and based at Stennis Space Center, ASSURE is composed of 22 leading research institutions and more than 100 industry and government partners working worldwide.

ASSURE was chosen as the Federal Aviation Administration’s Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems last year, beating out proposals by some of the nation’s top universities.

“It was a very impressive win, beat universities including MIT and Stanford,” said  retired Maj. Gen. James O. Poss, the ASSURE executive director at Stennis. “We hope to convert that into an enduring impact on the whole state.”

Poss, a native of Ocean Springs and graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, is a 30-year Air Force veteran with combat experience in four wars. He was the Air Force’s senior career intelligence officer when he retired in 2012 and is a leading expert on unmanned aerial systems  and cyber warfare.

Poss said the Mississippi State-led alliance of universities and industry partners was selected based on members’ experience and expertise in UAV research and operations.

Their goal is to provide the findings of their research to the FAA so that unmanned aircraft systems can be safely integrated with manned aircraft at the nation’s airports and in the nation’s skies.

The office opened at Stennis late last year and Poss said ASSURE researchers already are working on eight major projects totaling around $10 million.

Among the areas the researchers will study are defining air worthiness standards for UAS, noise standards, collision avoidance and pilot training.

Mississippi is primed to capture the future UAS markets because it is already home to military UAS manufacturing, research projects studying the use of drones for precision agriculture and unmanned maritime vehicles.

“Hancock County, the Coast and state are in a great position to take advantage of this exciting new UAS market,” Poss said.

The ASSURE coalition includes Drexel University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Kansas State University, Montana State University, New Mexico State University, North Carolina State University, Oregon State University, University of Alabama-Huntsville, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, University of California Davis, University of Kansas, University of North Dakota, The Ohio State University and Wichita State University.

Affiliate members are Auburn University, Concordia, Indiana State University, Louisiana Tech University, Tuskegee University, University of Southampton and Sinclair Community College. 

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