WEST HARTFORD, Conn.—The University of Hartford was awarded a $2.4 million federal grant in the recently approved 2010 Federal Budget for research on small autonomous aerial vehicles, often referred to as UAVs. The funds from this grant, which is one of the largest research grants in University history, will be used to help the U.S. Army develop the technologies needed to create a new generation of small systems that will have the ability to transform into autonomous (unmanned) vehicles during flight.
It is hoped that this new generation of UAVs will be about the size of a soda can, so they will significantly push forward the technological boundaries for cost effective and miniaturized autonomous systems. They are also intended to be multi-functional so that they can provide camera surveillance, mark targets, provide forward listening posts, and sense dangerous conditions such as gases, radiation or explosives nearby.
"Autonomous technologies such as these are an excellent interdisciplinary learning device for the engineering profession, and they enjoy tremendous student interest as one of the most important 21st century technologies, said Lou Manzione, dean of the University's College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture. "Nearly all engineering programs aspire to research on autonomous technologies, and this grant places the University of Hartford at the forefront of this important trend."
The University of Hartford led a statewide coalition of universities and other organizations to establish and grow a regional alignment with the Army mission. Those joining the University of Hartford in developing this new UAV technology include the University of Connecticut, the University of Bridgeport, and the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc., as well as select area companies that will supply vital expertise to the effort.
The awarding of the $2.4 million grant to the University of Hartford received strong support from the highest levels of the Army Research Command (ARDEC), U.S. Senators Chris Dodd and Joseph Lieberman, and from U.S. Congressman John B. Larson who provided the direct sponsorship.
"I am proud to have supported this project as it will help develop a technology that will keep our nation's greatest treasure, the men and women of our military, safe and secure. The University of Hartford, along with its public and private partners, has built a nationally recognized research and development infrastructure that has gained the endorsement of the U.S. Army," said Congressman Larson. "This funding can help rejuvenate our state's manufacturing base to create jobs and help grow our economy."
The Army Research Command stated that it likes the capabilities found at the University of Hartford and the key personnel in miniaturization and manufacturing science. The research will largely be conducted in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture with opportunities for the sciences, and particularly computer science, to become engaged as well.
Chartered in 1957 with the mission to be a "private university with a public purpose," the University of Hartford offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in the arts, the humanities, business, engineering and technology, education, and the health professions. The University's student body of 7,300 represents 45 states and more than 50 countries. For more information, visit www.hartford.edu.