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USU AggieAir At Forefront Of Drone Technology

Small black drone that looks like a plane flies over rural farmland in Utah.
Utah State University

Drones may be the future of convenience and delivery, but there are still many challenges when it comes to using them in urban environments. Utah State University’s AggieAir team will be addressing these challenges during an upcoming exclusive NASA demonstration. 

"The Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, or NIAS, asked Utah State University AggieAir by way of the Desert UAS test site to participate in this airspace demonstration," said Dr. Calvin Coopmans, a professor in the electrical and computer engineering department at Utah State University and the director of AggieAir.

Coopmans is leading a group that will be showing the technical ability of drones at a NASA demonstration this June in Reno, Nevada.

"This is a significant event because we have been asked to demonstrate on the world stage with the best other drone players in the world," Coopmans said.  "This is like Uber and GE. In fact it is a very selective list and we are the only university that has been asked to show what we have been doing."

Utah State will be featuring, not one, but two drones alongside a handful of other exhibitors in a very technical demonstration. 

"No one has ever performed something like this before and it is actually quite ambitious," Coopmans said. "The demonstration itself will be all 14 aircraft flying autonomously and doing separate missions which we will coordinate before hand, such as landing on the top of a building, landing in the street, moving through between buildings."

At the demonstration, Coopmans hopes to show that USU is at the forefront of drone technologies. Following the demonstration Coopmans and AggieAir will bring the newest drone techniques back to the state.  

"So the goals of the demonstration are to show how drones can interact in urban environments with people and get their missions done," he adds. "In this case the mission might be package delivery and to demonstrate how that’s safe and how the coming future of the air space is something that we all can trust."