FAA Reauthorization Act Extends ASSURE UAS Program and Establishes ASSUREd Safe

ASSURE UAS programThe FAA Reauthorization Act 2024, signed by President Biden last week, signifies a substantial advancement in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) technology and safety. A key component of the act is the extension of the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE), FAA’s Center of Excellence for UAS programs, which promotes innovation and collaboration within the UAS industry.

Senator Roger Wicker, senior senator representing Mississippi and a senior member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, was instrumental in this legislative effort. “Mississippi State University continues to be a leader in the FAA’s Centers of Excellence program for unmanned aircraft system research,” stated U.S. Senator Roger Wicker. “This legislation will keep the university at the epicenter of aviation innovation, and I am proud to have supported it.”

Mississippi State University, a key institution in the ASSURE program, has significantly contributed to its foundation and ongoing success. Dr. David Shaw, Provost and Executive Vice President at Mississippi State University, emphasized the program’s impact: “I have had the privilege of being involved with the ASSURE program since its inception, and it has been truly remarkable to witness the growth and significant impact the program has had on the UAS industry. From the outset, the program’s mission has been clear: to provide high-quality research and support to autonomy stakeholders, both domestically and internationally, in order to safely and efficiently integrate autonomous systems into the national and international infrastructure.”

ASSURE is comprised of 29 leading research institutions and over a hundred industry and government partners. Its extensive portfolio ranges from small drones to large-scale UAS, offering expertise across various research areas. The program’s extension supports the UAS market’s growth towards its multi-billion-dollar potential by focusing on safety, effectiveness, and efficiency to facilitate UAS integration alongside manned aircraft globally.

Col. Stephen P. Luxion, Ret., Executive Director of the ASSURE FAA Center of Excellence for UAS, highlighted the program’s broader objectives: “ASSURE is not only about advancing technology, but also about increasing commerce and enhancing overall public safety and benefit. As we continue to navigate the complexities of UAS integration, I am thrilled to see the great work of the ASSURE program persist and evolve. Together, we are shaping the future of autonomous systems and paving the way for a safer, more interconnected world.”

In addition to extending the ASSURE program, the FAA Reauthorization Act has established ASSUREd Safe, a credentialing authority within the FAA’s program of record. This national credentialing authority, housed at the Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Mississippi State University, will focus on standards development, education, and testing to support first responders in diverse emergency response operations.


The Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE), FAA’s Center of Excellence for UAS programs, includes 29 of the world’s premier research institutions and over a hundred leading industry and government partners. ASSURE members are central to four FAA UAS test sites and lead four FAA research centers, with UAS ranging from small drones below 55 pounds to the largest UAS at any US academic institution at 1800 pounds. By prioritizing safety, effectiveness, and efficiency, ASSURE conducts research to aid the FAA in integrating UAS with manned aircraft worldwide. Additionally, ASSURE leads ASSUREd Safe, aimed at enhancing and standardizing first responders’ use of UAS for public benefit, safety, and emergency response.

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