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North Carolina A&T-led team awarded USD8 million to develop air-passenger taxis

Auvsi.org reports that to address traffic congestion, NASA has awarded an interdisciplinary team led by North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (North Carolina A&T) a four-year, USD8 million award to develop, test and eventually deploy air passenger taxis as a supplemental means of transportation. North Carolina A&T notes that the grant is the second-largest award the university has received in its history.

“The project leverages interdisciplinary expertise to engineer new capabilities in unmanned Advanced Air Mobility,” says College of Engineering (COE) Dean Robin N. Coger Ph.D. “This project is a wonderful example of the scale of innovation possible when research universities, industry, and NASA partner together.”

The collaborative effort will address four technical challenges (TCs) in Advanced Air Mobility. Those challenges are: TC1: Safe Perception, Coordination, Planning, and Navigation; TC2: Secured Autonomy; TC3: Verification and Validation and Testing and Evaluation; and TC4: System Integration.

“We won’t have the luxury of physical space to build more roads as the populations in urban areas continue to grow,” says Abdollah Homaifar, Ph.D., principal investigator and a NASA Langley Distinguished Professor in the College of Engineering (COE). “I am excited for this collaboration as we are addressing real challenges in our society that require solutions that one group cannot provide alone.”

N.C. A&T researchers will work with researchers at Purdue University and the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). The team also includes Aurora Flight Sciences, Alaka’i Technologies Corp., General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and Northrop Grumman Corp.

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