UNT’s New Drone Testing Facility Set to Revolutionize Transportation

The University of North (UNT) has unveiled its latest addition to Discovery Park, the UNT Advanced Air Mobility test facility. This massive, state-of-the-art drone testing center is poised to transform the transportation landscape in the . The facility, made possible by generous donations from UNT alumnus Jim McNatt and the College of Engineering, will serve as a hub for cutting-edge research and development in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

A Game-Changing Facility

The UNT drone test facility is an impressive sight, standing four stories tall, spanning nearly half a football field in length, and measuring 300 feet wide. Its net-like walls and mesh-covered top create an indoor environment suitable for testing drones in various conditions. Terrence Pohlen, senior associate dean of the G. Brint Ryan College of Business and director of the Jim McNatt Institute for Logistics and Research, emphasized the facility's potential to drive advancements in transportation safety, sustainability, and affordability.

University of North Texas President Neal Smatresk officially opens the new drone testing facility at Discovery Park by cutting the ceremonial green ribbon during Thursday's inauguration event. Image credit: Pete Comparoni, UNT (courtesy photo)
University of North Texas President Neal Smatresk officially opens the new drone testing facility at Discovery Park by cutting the ceremonial green ribbon during Thursday's inauguration event. Image credit: Pete Comparoni, UNT (courtesy photo)

Transformative Applications

UNT researchers envision a future where drones revolutionize various aspects of daily life. Potential applications include:

  • Unmanned air ambulances for faster emergency response
  • Drones assisting autonomous delivery trucks in navigating obstacles
  • Prescription drug and medical equipment delivery directly to homes
  • Infrastructure inspection and weather monitoring
  • Autonomous drones transporting health care workers to homebound patients

These innovations could significantly reduce supply-chain costs, lower emissions, and improve overall efficiency in transportation.

Collaboration and Customization

While not the first of its kind, the UNT test center is among a select few such facilities nationwide. The university collaborated with officials from a similar facility in Buffalo, , to customize their design to withstand extreme weather conditions. The test center's flexible structure, featuring clip-mounted panels, allows it to adapt to various environmental challenges.

UNT is actively partnering with government agencies and companies across the country to test advanced air mobility technologies. Researchers have already conducted tests on future airspace system automation, electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, and simulated air routes between Discovery Park and Hillwood's AllianceTexas Flight Test Center in Fort Worth.

The UNT Advanced Air Mobility test facility marks a significant milestone in the advancement of and its potential to reshape transportation in the United States. By fostering research, collaboration, and innovation, this cutting-edge facility is set to pave the way for a future where drones play an integral role in enhancing safety, sustainability, and accessibility in various aspects of life.

As Terrence Pohlen aptly stated, “The sky's the limit” for the possibilities that this groundbreaking facility will unlock, according to Inforney.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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