ERAU and AdvAero To Evaluate UAV Safety

 - November 26, 2012, 2:00 PM
An employee of AdvAero (standing) demonstrates to Dr. John Johnson of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University the ability of the specially equipped Piaggio P-180 Avanti to mimic a UAV flight control system. (Credit: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University)

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) and Montreal-based Advanced Aerospace Solutions (AdvAero) have announced a partnership using “rapid prototyping” to help prove the viability of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in U.S. civil airspace. Rapid prototyping is designed to more quickly deliver answers on the viability of research projects.

“At some point we’re going to need to prove that we can fly unmanned vehicles safely through civil airspace,” said AdvAero CEO John Maris. “You can simulate and simulate, but someone needs to actually try driving an aircraft through the airspace.”

The agreement commits AdvAero’s Piaggio Avanti P.180 research aircraft to the new partnership with ERAU, using the Daytona Beach, Fla.-based university’s UAV Center of Excellence. With a safety pilot in the left seat of the Piaggio, the twin-turboprop aircraft can be flown from the right seat by an engineering pilot or from a workstation in the cabin to simulate a UAV flight, although that work station could just as easily be located on the ground 1,000 miles away.

Maris claimed the Avanti could be flown even from an iPhone.