You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

NASA picks Dayton group to manage UAV prize contest

NASA has selected a Dayton non-profit organization to manage the only unmanned aerial systems contest in the nation to help make UAVs safe to fly in civilian airspace, the space agency said Friday.

Development Projects Inc., the public sector funding arm of the Dayton Development Coalition, will run the two-stage competition. The contest is expected to draw at least 25 competing teams across the country to fly UAVs in restricted airspace above the Camp Atterbury military operating range in southern Indiana.

Wilmington Air Park could potentially become a second test site in the second phase of the contest, officials said.

The selection was announced just days after final submissions were due to the Federal Aviation Administration in a competition to land one of six test sites to integrate UAVs into civilian airspace by 2015. Ohio and Indiana have submitted a joint proposal. The FAA is expected to announce the winners by the end of the year.

NASA’s decision could boost Ohio and Indiana’s attempt to land an FAA test zone, said Joseph Zeis, Dayton Development Coalition executive vice president and chief strategic officer. Officials from the Dayton, Springfield and Wilmington areas believe having such a designation would generate big economic benefits.

“I don’t think (NASA’s decision) precludes the other,” he said. “I think this is a great stepping stone en route as we work through the FAA test designation process.”

In the NASA competition, Development Projects will partner with the space agency, the Air Force Research Laboratory, a national leader in sense and avoidance research at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, industry, and the FAA to demonstrate key technologies, according to Dick Honneywell, Dayton Development Coalition vice president of aerospace.

“I think by selecting our region that sends a very important message to the rest of the country and the world that Dayton can be the go-to place for unmanned systems” testing and development, said Larrell Walters, division head of sensor systems at the University of Dayton Research Institute. “It’s a big thing so it bodes well for Ohio and our region that NASA has selected us.”

NASA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airspace Operations Challenge will offer a $500,000 prize to the winner of the first phase of the competition set to start next year; and $1 million in a second, more technically challenging round in 2015 or later, said Larry P. Cooper, program executive of the NASA Centennial Challenges program in Washington, D.C.

“The airspace that we need to do this competition needed to be restricted airspace,” Cooper told the Dayton Daily News on Friday. “There’s only a limited number of places in the country” to conduct tests. NASA received proposals from nine states, from California to Florida, and Virginia to Arizona.

While NASA will offer the prize money, organizers said, contest sponsors, partners and competitors will pay the cost of the competition.

Developing technology that allows UAVs to avoid striking other objects is one key goal of the contest.

Seth Young, director of the Center for Aviation Studies at Ohio State University, anticipated the university will be one of those to field a team. Faculty and students have UAS know-how and would benefit working with government agencies and industry, he said.

The first stage of the fly-off will test UAVs’ capabilities to avoid aircraft broadcasting their location and direction. The second phase will add a test to determine how well UAVs broadcast their own position, Cooper said.

“We’re only paying for the prize for the teams that actually achieve the requirements set out,” Cooper said. “There’s no guarantee this thing will be won in the first year. We may have to run it a couple of times before we have winners.”

Walters said UAVs in the next few years could perfect duties above rural agriculture lands, but autonomous sense and avoidance technology operating in commercial airspace could be a decade or more away.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in News

Prince William, Kate startled after water squirted at them by runner
Prince William, Kate startled after water squirted at them by runner

Prince William and Kate were startled Sunday during the London Marathon when a runner apparently squirted water at them. The royal couple was handing out bottles of water along the race course when photos captured the moment William took a bit of a dousing. Only a few drops hit Kate. The price quickly recovered, seeming to laugh it off with good humor...
Hopkins drops out of Wright State graduation ceremony
Hopkins drops out of Wright State graduation ceremony

Wright State University’s former president will no longer preside over commencement though he said he would when he resigned last month. David Hopkins will not attend Wright State’s graduation set for 10 a.m. Saturday in the Nutter Center, said spokesman Seth Bauguess. Upon his resignation, Hopkins said he still planned to preside over...
23 men arrested in underage sex sting ‘Operation Spring Cleaning’
23 men arrested in underage sex sting ‘Operation Spring Cleaning’

Police arrested nearly two dozen people in an underage sex sting in Gwinnett County, Georgia. >> Read more trending news Officers pretended to be teenagers online to lure the predators from all over metro Atlanta to meet and pay for sex, authorities said. The joint “Operation Spring Cleaning” between the Georgia Bureau of Investigation...
2 people shot in Dallas office building, reports say
2 people shot in Dallas office building, reports say

Two people were shot Monday in a Dallas office tower, police said.  Police responded to the scene around 10:45 a.m. to help evacuate the building, according to The Dallas Morning News.  Multiple media groups are reporting that two people were shot. Police have not released information about suspects or victims.  A man walked...
Clerk can’t read robber’s note because of messy handwriting, police say 
Clerk can’t read robber’s note because of messy handwriting, police say 

A robbery suspect’s handwriting was so undecipherable that a store clerk handed the demand note back to the man Thursday and asked him to read it, police said. Dion Taylor walked into a Family Dollar around 7:30 p.m. and handed the clerk the note, according to WKBN. The clerk handed it back to Taylor when he could not understand what was...
More Stories