Universities around the United States are researching drone implementations in emergency response and disaster preparedness with the aid of $2.7 million in security research grants from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

"Every second counts in an emergency, and this funding will allow drones to safely and more quickly deploy in moments when minutes matter," said Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen.

The research will explore the use of drones in providing effective and efficient responses to different natural and human-made disasters. It will address coordination procedures among drone operators from federal agencies as well as state and local disaster preparedness and emergency response organizations. The five universities and their award amounts are:

  • University of Vermont — $1,195,000
  • University of Alabama Huntsville — $828,070
  • New Mexico State University — $400,000
  • North Carolina State University — $200,000
  • Kansas State University — $145,000

Research efforts may build upon previous and new projects at the institutions, such as the University of Vermont's drone training programs and tests at the unmanned aerial system (UAS) test site at New Mexico State University.