Oklahoma State University Launches Institute for Unmanned Systems Research

With a growing state and national reputation bolstered by increased research funding, Oklahoma State University has created a research organization focusing on the development of unmanned systems technologies. The Unmanned Systems Research Institute (USRI) will bring together multidisciplinary talent from across OSU’s campuses to collaborate on the design, testing, evaluation and application of unmanned technologies.

“With the rising prominence of OSU researchers in the building and testing of unmanned systems, it makes sense to establish a research institute to focus the university’s talent and resources,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “This is an exciting time for this promising area of technology and for OSU’s leadership in the field.”

Building on its recognized expertise in developing a variety of applications for unmanned aerial vehicles, the USRI will apply this proficiency to design unmanned land-based vehicles and watercraft, including submersibles. Creating the institute is the latest example of OSU as a leading comprehensive research university.

“Unmanned systems research is indisputably one of OSU’s signature interdisciplinary strengths,” said Vice President for Research Kenneth Sewell. “Establishing the institute will provide the infrastructure to expand its impact to its fullest potential.”

The institute will be initially housed at OSU’s Richmond Hills Research Complex on the north side of Stillwater. The OSU Research Foundation plans to establish an unmanned systems development center as part of the institute. The center, to be based at the OSU Research Park in Stillwater, will be devoted to commercializing technologies developed through the institute. Jamey Jacob, OSU professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, has been named director of the USRI.

“The Unmanned Systems Research Institute will accelerate innovation and foster fundamental and applied research across a broad spectrum of activities,” said Jacob. “The institute will be a transformational integrative force by bringing together interdisciplinary researchers across OSU and Oklahoma to advance unmanned systems research and education.”

Jacob said the institute is the result of a critical mass of research talent, facilities and funding developed at OSU. Recent large grants, including this year’s $6 million National Science Foundation award to develop aircraft systems to improve meteorology research and weather forecasting in partnership with the University of Oklahoma, have highlighted OSU’s prominence and the need for an interdisciplinary research organization.

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