NCSU Becomes Latest National Science Foundation Test Site For Drones

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The National Science Foundation has given the nod to North Carolina State University as the site of a new, next-gen wireless communications research center, reports GovTech.com. The program has been named Aerial Experimentation and Research Platform for Advanced Wireless (AERPAW) and will serve as a regional testbed facility with the support of the National Science Foundation. NCSU will be the third Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) facility.

 Working in conjunction with US Ignite, a nonprofit studying smart city projects in those emerging communities, AERPAW will be testing new applications for high-speed wireless communications. The focus will be on finding innovative ways for drones to assist with disaster and emergency response situations and logistics. As unmanned aircraft and autonomous vehicles are becoming more popular ways to transport goods and people, studying drone responses and adaptability will also be part of AERPAW’s curriculum.

“This is an experimental laboratory, essentially,” said Marc Hoit, vice chancellor for IT at NCSU. “So the research aspects are not really the level of research most people think about. It’s really a platform, or a laboratory that other people who want to test their equipment, test their ideas, do more National Science Foundation research or industry based research, they can come use this to validate those ideas.”

 Over the next seven years, the National Science Foundation will be contributing $50 million towards the NCSU PAWR project. The PAWR Industry Consortium has pledged to contribute an additional $50 in funding. “Whether they are academic researchers funded and supported by the National Science Foundation, or corporate researchers from one of over 30 companies in our industry consortium, or innovators and entrepreneurs looking for a place to test out a new idea, they’ll be able to take their concept from the lab and try it out in real life,” said US Ignite’s chief operating officer, Joe Kochan.   

September 23, 2019

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