Mississippi will soon be the new base for a major drone research project. As MPB's Alexis Ware reports the U.S. Department of Homeland Security wants Mississippi State University to lead the effort.
Researchers at MSU are working to coordinate plans to begin drone training. The drones will be used to gather better on site views for first responders and other homeland security agencies. These situations may vary from wildfire and flood coverage to land or water search and rescue missions.
Dallas Brooks is the Director of Raspet Flight Research Laboratory at MSU. He says the images the drones capture can help gather more efficient information.
"So the ability to get that big picture view and then zoom into the fine details that ordinarily you could only get by having a lot of people on the ground that UAS system will allow you to replace in some cases dozens of people on the ground with high fidelity imagery that gives you exact report on how and where things are going."
School officials say the demonstration range facility will use about two thousand square miles of restricted airspace at altitudes up to 60 thousand feet.
Brooks says Mississippi has many potential training facilities which made it a good choice for Homeland Security.
"What we already had here in Mississippi in terms of facilities such as Camp Shelby, Stennis Space Center and facilities in both Jackson and Hancock Counties the other piece is experience. So, between what we have at Mississippi State our personnel have a long history in UAS operations all of these things combined to make it close to a perfect storm."
The demonstration range facility is expected to begin operations this fall.