UNT has partnered with NASA on a project working toward integrating air taxis, cargo delivery aircraft, and other new air vehicle concepts into the national airspace system. The newly announced project with COMSovereign will expand UNT’s focus on wireless connectivity and research into Advanced Air Mobility. [Image: NASA]
From unmanned aerial vehicles to autonomous ground vehicles to mobile edge computing and public safety teams, nothing works without the ability to communicate. Now a new collaboration in North Texas aims to advance all these things and more with a new research platform.
The University of North Texas and Dallas-based communications tech company COMSovereign are partnering to develop and launch a new 5G edge-centric research platform, funded in part by a new grant from the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG).
The infrastructure test platform will be designed for “secure, private, low-cost, and delay–sensitive applications,” and will support a wide range of research projects in mobility technologies. The new platform will be used by UNT research teams as well as partners from North Texas universities and companies.
Expanding a relationship into Advanced Air Mobility tech
In a joint statement, UNT’s Dr. Xinrong Li and Dr. Kamesh Namuduri said the new project expands the university’s “long relationship” with COMSovereign and will advance UNT’s work on autonomous aerial vehicle technologies.
“Under this new program, and thanks to the support of the NCTCOG, we’ll be able to expand our focus on wireless connectivity and research into Advanced Air Mobility technologies including UAVs, where UNT is already actively engaged with an expanding network of industry and government partners,” Li and Namuduri said in the statement.
In October, a successful live flight test of emerging Advanced Air Mobility technologies was conducted by a team co-led by Namuduri. A Bell 407GXi helicopter (above), acting as a surrogate eVTOL for the demonstration, completed the flight between Hillwood’s AllianceTexas Flight Test Center and UNT’s Discovery Park.
“The test moves the North Texas region one step closer to a future where air taxis, air ambulances, and delivery vehicles are a normal part of life,” Namuduri said in October.
Platform will include applications in ‘factory automation, precision agriculture, and smart cities’
Dr. Dustin McIntire, chief technology officer of COMSovereign, says the expanded collaboration with UNT will “include an increased focus on wireless mobility for applications including linking of UAVs, factory automation, precision agriculture and smart cities.”
“Through this new research platform, we’ll seek to harness the power of 5G and critical enabling technologies such as MEC for cutting-edge use cases in commercial and military markets where wireless connectivity is impacted by barriers such as latency, unlocking its full potential,” McIntire said in a statement.
To support the research program with UNT, COMSovereign said it’s providing its standalone 5G wireless ORAN-FlexRAN network hardware, which features a 3GPP standardized, 5G Core, and 5G gNodeB base station, as well as its Saguna Mobile Edge Compute software technology.
For its part, UNT will provide onsite research staffing and engineering development resources. The university will also engage in public/private industry partnership development activities to advance the project.