Murkowski Touts UAF’s Leadership in Unmanned Aerial Systems

University of Alaska Fairbanks to Join Groundbreaking National Consortium

Senator Lisa Murkowski today congratulated the University of Alaska Fairbanks for being selected as a partner in the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) – a national coalition of universities pioneering unmanned aerial systems (UAS’s).  At a ceremony held in on Capitol Hill, Murkowski spoke of the “game changing” opportunities that UAS’s present for Arctic research and development.

Joined by UAF officials, Federal Aviation Administration head Michael Huerta and members of Congress backing this next generation research, Murkowski pledged to support the newly-designated FAA Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems to develop technologies and policies for the use of unmanned aerial systems.  Congress directed the FAA to establish the national center and has allocated $5.0 million to support a five-year agreement.  Federal funding will be matched by ASSURE team members.

“The Arctic is right there for us as we develop research and technologies, a place to be pushing out our understanding and capabilities,” said Senator Murkowski, who introduced the Safe Skies for Unmanned Aircraft Act of 2015.  “The most popular breakout discussion at the recent Arctic Symposium was UAS’s – both their potential in the Arctic and for us as a nation.  We have extraordinary places to go, and to quote Buzz Lightyear: we can go to infinity and beyond.  This is real money that allows us to do more in this new technology, and I am proud that the University of Alaska Fairbanks is being recognized as a national leader in this field."

“This support will go a long ways in supporting the growth of unmanned aerial systems and Alaskan applications of this powerful technology,” said Dr. Marty Rogers of University of Alaska-Fairbanks.  “The ASSURE resources will allow us to be in a leading position of the coalition and at the same time recognizes our decade and a half of leadership and involvement in unmanned aerial systems.”

The schools within the ASSURE consortium will be responsible for identifying issues critical to the integration of UAS into the nation’s airspace and engaging in both research and policy development as the use of unmanned aerial systems expands.