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Texas A&M Conducts Drone Research Mission

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas— Just weeks after its designation as one of six federally-approved test sites for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi conducted several test flights over South Texas ranchland to continue research and training on the RS-16 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

The recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) test site designation, announced Dec. 30, is expected to bring other UAS researchers to the University’s Lone Star UAS Center to expand research on new applications and safe integration of unmanned aerial technology into the national airspace.

“For the last two years, we’ve been researching the best ways for using UAS applications – from helping monitor marine environments to tracking harmful pollutants over land and water,” said Dr. David Bridges, Director of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program. “Now that we’ve been named one of six FAA test sites, we are continuing our research and understanding of how to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into our national airspace.”

A&M-Corpus Christi has an established UAS program, including extensive airspace authorized by the FAA for UAS operations. The University also has established a UAS Command and Control Center at the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center in Corpus Christi that will manage the 11 Texas test ranges. The University’s UAV, an RS-16, has participated in several missions since it arrived on campus in 2011.