It's hard to believe that something the size of a soda can is worth $2.4 million. That's how much money the University of Hartford was awarded in federal grants for research on small unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs.
So, you're probably wondering what are UAVs? They have been used since the 1950's for reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering. The new class of UAVs are being to developed to be multi-functional, doing everything from monitoring pollution and climate patterns to sensing dangerous conditions such as gases, radiation or explosives on combat missions.
The funds from this grant, one of the largest research grants in University history, will be used to help the U.S. Army develop the technologies needed to transform small unmanned vehicles during flight. And when they say small, they literally mean, no bigger than the size of a soda can.
It is hoped that this new generation of UAVs will help make this technology more cost effective.
"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."
Other universities taking part in the research 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.