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A&M-Corpus Christi Lone Star UAS Center Highlights New Partnerships, UAS Technology During Texas UAS Summit

May 19, 2017

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The signing of new partnerships with NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center and the UAS Centre of Excellence (UAS CE), located in Quebec, Canada were just two of many exciting events which took place during the second annual Texas UAS Summit in Dallas May 9-10.

The Texas UAS Summit occurred alongside AUVSI XPONENTIAL, an annual gathering that hosts the largest global community of leaders in drones, intelligent robotics and unmanned systems. AUVSI XPONENTIAL ran from May 8 – 11 and attracted more than 4,000 drone enthusiasts from across the United States.

“This event exhibited the ingenuity and innovative spirit of the Texas A&M University System,” said Jerry Hendrix, Executive Director of the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation (LSUASC) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. “It was a great forum held in Texas to expose the Texas A&M University System as a leader in autonomous research and innovation.”

The theme of the Texas UAS Summit was “Bringing Autonomous Solutions to America’s Roadways, Railways, Waterways and Skies.” Hendrix, several top Island University leaders, and Federal Aviation Administration leadership spoke to summit attendees about advancement in multiple fascinating areas of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) technology and research during the two-day event.

Summit highlights included the signing of a new Space Act Agreement between representatives from NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, LSUASC and Texas A&M University System. As part of the agreement, three University employees will work closely with NASA to develop new autonomous UAS software. The agreement and collaboration were made possible thanks to the A&M System Chancellor’s Research Initiative and will focus on developing new UAS software.

“This new agreement shows NASA’s continued confidence in the Lone Star UAS Center here at A&M-Corpus Christi,” said Hendrix.

Staying on the forefront of UAS research, a Trilateral Memorandum of Agreement was signed between LSUASC, UAS CE and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) on the final day of the summit. This agreement marked a monumental step in the advancement of drone technologies, as each entity will work together on an international level to pursue mutually beneficial research.

“This momentous signing signifies the global impact that unmanned aircraft systems are having across the world. Common research, testing and integration in Canadian Domestic Air Space and in the US National Airspace will be of great benefit to Transport Canada, the FAA and global partners,” explained Hendrix. “In items like detect and avoid and beyond visual line of sight operations, better solutions for commercialization will evolve. Global partners will recognize the value of the agreement to provide them with a common solution addressing research, testing, training, credentialing and operating unmanned aircraft systems. This MOU and new collaborative relationship sets the framework for expansion of our global partners across country boundaries; the LSUASC already has one such client ready to expand to Canada.”

When not signing major agreements, or giving panel presentations at the Texas UAS Summit, LSUASC members simultaneously hosted a booth during the weeklong AUVSI XPONENTIAL expo. The Texas State Corral Booth featured representatives from TEEX, members of the National UAS Credentialing Program (NUASCP), Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station and Texas A&M Research Offices. Global corporations AirRobot, BNSF Railway and The Research Valley Partnership, Inc., were also present. During the expo, LSUASC and TEEX worked together to add 15 new companies to the NUASCP pipeline.

Hendrix was also featured live on the Aero-News Network, the official expo news network, where he discussed LSUASC’s new FAA UAS Special Airworthiness Certificate. The Aero-News Network has produced more than 350,000 news stories, 7,000 podcasts, 3,000 Aero-TV features and more than 1,000 episodes of “Airborne Unlimited.”

“During the Texas UAS Summit and the Expo, we brought the nation’s best together to showcase autonomous aircraft solutions and the spread of those solutions across expert research throughout the A&M System,” Hendrix said. “The UAS community can expect to see Lone Star UAS and our A&M System Partners at the forefront of this emerging technology.”

For more information on the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence, click here.