The COAs also will benefit the National Science Foundation-funded project titled Situational Awareness during Fire and Emergency (SAFE) being carried out at UC under the supervision of professors Cohen and Kumar. The project focuses on developing UAV-based solutions for generating situational awareness during large-scale disasters.
The COAs will enable outdoor flight tests in support of the prototype development in collaboration with the Cincinnati Fire Department and West Virginia Division of Forestry, Kumar says.
Furthering UC's uncommon advantage in this area of research is
the university's beneficial location amid what Orkwis calls the nation's aerospace hub
. GE Aviation, the world's biggest producer of aircraft engines, is a short distance from UC's campus; Wright Patterson Air Force Base, the center of U.S. Air Force research and development, is near Dayton, Ohio; the NASA Glenn Research Center is in Cleveland; and several private jet charter companies, including NetJets, are headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Put it all together and you can make an interesting geographic comparison.
"UC and Ohio could be to the UAV industry what Stanford University and Silicon Valley are to the high-tech economic sector," Orkwis says.
Testing can begin immediately at Wilmington Air Park, and UC will continue supporting the West Virginia Division of Forestry with emergency-response efforts. Most of UC's work with UAVs involves smaller systems that bring innovation to areas such as commerce, search and rescue, wildfire suppression, package delivery, agriculture and sports event coverage.
Orkwis points out that oftentimes when industry benefits, so does the workforce.
"Doing research that goes on the shelf and gets published is beautiful. It's what we do as academics," Orkwis says. "But making jobs is when you take that research off the shelf and make it fly."
MORE ABOUT UC'S UAV RESEARCH
HorseFly 'Octocopter' Primed to Fly the Future to Your Front Door
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Don't Fear the Dawn of the Drones Someday One Just Might Save Your Life, Thanks to UC Research
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WATCH a 65-second flight demo
UC Aerial Robot System Can Save Firefighter Lives
A system built by University of Cincinnati experts around an unmanned aerial vehicle has faced a real-world test in a West Virginia controlled forest burn, and proved its usefulness.
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