In the early days of aviation, the goal of flight was simply to go higher and farther – and land safely. Today, that goal has expanded exponentially to reach new frontiers in both manned and unmanned flight. In fact, the development and refinement of unmanned aircraft systems has reached a critical juncture, and Mississippi is now leading the way.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s naming of Mississippi State as the home of the Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems exhibits their confidence, not only in our state’s past accomplishments and current standing, but also in Mississippi’s upward trajectory in unmanned systems technology.
Mississippi’s role with the Center of Excellence is to help introduce UAV and UAS technologies and policies into our society, our airspace and around the world – and to do so safely and responsibly. Mississippi State collaborates with ASSURE, comprised of more than 20 research universities from around the world and industry partners. This consortium is officially named the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence and provides intellectual capital and resources in this field.
The potential applications of these technologies are staggering, and the anticipated economic impact will stretch well beyond Mississippi. From precision agriculture and public safety to the delivery of consumer goods, the future commercial applications of this emerging field are practically limitless. The Center of Excellence will be a magnet, attracting new investment and developing the next generation of minds who will bring this new evolution of technology into the mainstream.
With more than 100 aerospace companies, Mississippi is home to global unmanned aircraft systems leaders like Aurora Flight Sciences, Northrop Grumman and Stark Aerospace. Mississippi’s significant competitive edge in aerospace has attracted these industries to the state. The state’s research and development offerings through Mississippi’s world-class research institutions, like Mississippi State University, provide aerospace companies with a direct pipeline to innovation and a highly skilled workforce.
Already among the pacesetters in advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, automotive manufacturing, energy, health care and shipbuilding, this opportunity paves the way for Mississippi to open new economic frontiers in aerospace and aviation.
By successfully integrating unmanned aircraft systems into our airspace, Mississippi has the opportunity to strengthen our national security and make the world a safer place. From here, MSU will lead the research to develop new technologies that will contribute to a higher quality of life for 7 billion people currently on planet Earth.