The New Jersey Institute of Technology will conduct test flights of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) over the Atlantic Ocean Nov. 20-21 from the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, N.J.
NJIT is conducting RPA flights over the Atlantic Ocean to test the feasibility of safely integrating RPAs into the public airspace, as well as assess the research and operational capabilities of several data-collecting sensors aboard the craft, according to officials. The flights will include a weather sensor to gather information on atmospheric conditions and devices with mapping, communications relay, and high-definition video capabilities.
A primary goal of NJIT’s mission is to develop RPA-borne weather sensors that can predict where a major storm will make landfall as many as two days before existing technology now permits. Communications relay devices are designed to function as “flying cell towers” capable of relaying calls and data from communities in which telecommunications equipment has been knocked out. Enhanced mapping technology would give emergency responders immediate information on damage caused by major storms such as Hurricane Sandy.
In May, NJIT was the first New Jersey institution to receive a Certificate of Waiver/Authorization (COA) from the FAA to conduct RPA test flights into national airspace.
NJIT is also a partner in the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP), a consortium with more than 40 members that is housed at Virginia Tech, which last year was designated one of six test sites authorized to develop procedures to ensure the safe integration of RPAs into national airspace.