Hoeven Announces UND Team Selected as Center of Excellence for Researching UAS Integration into NAS

Hoeven Serves on Senate Appropriations Committee, Which Approved $5 Million in 2015 for the Research

WASHINGTON — Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has selected the ASSURE team, led by the University of North Dakota and Mississippi State University, as the Center of Excellence for researching the safe integration of unmanned aerial systems (UAS)  into the National Airspace. The Senate Appropriations Committee, on which Hoeven serves, approved $5 million in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget to launch the competitive program.

ASSURE, the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence, has assembled a team that brings together the leading players in the UAS field to serve as a resource for the UAS. The center will focus on research on detect and avoid, command and control, system engineering and pilot training and certification.

“We’re extremely proud that UND and our team, which has been selected for this important operations,” Hoeven said. “They have been preparing for this kind of work for years and are a great fit for the task, blending well with the UAS test site and Grand Sky. This, combined with Grand Sky and the other public and private work being done, is helping to secure Grand Forks as the premier northern hub for UAS research and development.”

Hoeven was instrumental in getting Grand Forks selected as one of six sites to test UAS for integration into the National Airspace in 2013.                                 

The FAA Reauthorization bill passed by Congress in February 2012 includes an amendment introduced by Hoeven that directed the agency to establish the test sites and integrate UAS into the National Airspace System. Hoeven’s amendment instructed the FAA Administrator to consider factors including geographical and climatic diversity, as well as the location of ground infrastructure, in selecting the test sites.

Hoeven has worked, both as governor and now as U.S. Senator, with the state’s UAS community to establish and maintain North Dakota’s leadership in UAS technologies and to grow UAS operations in the Grand Forks region.