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Taking Flight: Auburn’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight School

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This month, Auburn University received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to establish the first Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight School in the United States. This designation will allow Auburn faculty members, students, and members of relevant public organizations to perform commercial flight training on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), often called drones. The flight school will perform flights outside and untethered in various locations around the state of Alabama.

Auburn University has an 80-year history of teaching and research about aviation, and this year’s edition of Auburn Speaks, titled On Cyber and the Digital Domain, includes a chapter by Chase Murray entitled “Air Traffic Control: Algorithms for UAV Operations: From Monitoring the Battlefield to Delivering Packages,” that describes the uses of UAVs and the processes by which UAVs fly to pre-determined destinations without a human pilot. In the chapter, Murray explains his own research, devising algorithms and other mathematical models to help UAVs reach their target locations using GPS coordinates.

Murray ends his piece by emphasizing that it is an exciting time to be studying UAVs at Auburn University. Several faculty members and their students are working on federally funded projects to improve UAV capabilities, such as Saad Biaz, who is developing software to improve UAV flight navigation and avoid collisions. With the approval of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight School, these exciting times will certainly continue.

To learn more, visit: http://ocm.auburn.edu/aviation_center/

To get your copy of Auburn Speaks: On Cyber and the Digital Domain, visit the Auburn Speaks Store.

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