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College of Engineering | March 28, 2023

UTEP Joins Notre Dame-Led Team Selected for $5.3 Million NASA Grant to Tackle Future of Air Travel Challenges

UTEP Joins Notre Dame Led Team Selected for 5.3 Million NASA Grant to Tackle Future of Air Travel Challenges


The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is proud to announce its participation in a new grant from NASA, aimed at solving key challenges facing the future of air travel. As part of the agency's University Leadership Initiative, NASA has selected four teams of university faculty and students to address critical research topics related to innovative air mobility and energy efficiency. The four teams selected for final negotiations could lead to awards worth a combined total of up to $25.1 million during the next four years.

Led by the University of Notre Dame, one of the teams selected will develop an automated decision-making capability that ensures small drones are safe before they fly using a NASA-developed drone traffic management system. The team includes researchers from Iowa State University, Saint Louis University, DePaul University, DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Alliance, and UTEP.

We are excited to be part of this research initiative with NASA and our esteemed academic partners," said Miguel Velez-Reyes, Ph.D., Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. "This grant provides a unique opportunity to continue strengthening UTEP Electrical and Computer Engineering Department research and education efforts in robotics and autonomous systems while enabling students and faculty to engage in the solution of technical challenges related to the future of air travel. We are committed to support the success of this partnership and NASA’s goals."

This initiative gives UTEP an opportunity to support NASA's aeronautical research goals and provide students experience in solving practical technical challenges. As the teams work on their projects, they will collaborate with other universities and industry partners, creating opportunities for participation that include students with diverse experiences, backgrounds, and talents.

Dr. Robert C. Roberts, assistant professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and one of the principal investigators for the Notre Dame-led team said, "UTEP is committed to advancing the development of automated decision-making capabilities that can enable the safe operation of small drones in the National Airspace System. This grant provides a great opportunity for our students to work on a real-world technical challenge with broad societal impact."

UTEP looks forward to contributing to this innovative research initiative and supporting NASA's aeronautical research goals.

College of Engineering Communications

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