Embry-Riddle Worldwide faculty, staff, students and graduates recently took part in a world record-breaking unmanned aerial package delivery destined to make future drone delivery a reality.
The new world’s record was completed on May 5, 2017 in Austin, Tex., by a Nevada Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Consortium called Team Roadrunner, which flew the HQ-40 – a fixed-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Using cellular connectivity, the 143-minute, 54-second flight traversed exactly 97.592 miles.
Launched from a central Texas location, the UAV flew a preplanned route through the National Airspace System (NAS) using mobile command and control combined with visual observers along the flight path using enhanced radios and cell phone communications.
“Embry-Riddle has always been at the forefront of revolutionizing the aviation industry,” says Kandi Windham, Embry-Riddle Worldwide’s Houston-based campus director. “Participating in unmanned research and testing is an exciting, unique experience.”
Team Roadrunner consisted of the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site (Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems), Volans-i UAS, Latitude UAS, AUV Flight Services and an Embry-Riddle Worldwide contingency.
The Embry-Riddle group, led by Associate Professor Scott Burgess, included Windham as well as Adjunct Assistant Professor Chris Walach, who also serves as director of the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site, plus more than a dozen students and alumni.
“Projects such as this not only allow hands-on experience, but they also align with our university’s commitment to being the leader in aviation innovation,” Burgess says.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit erau.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.