Sustaining Ohio’s Aeronautical Readiness and Innovation in the Next Generation


The OFRN Round 3 SOARING RFP (RFP) is focused on expanding Ohio’s leadership in federal and industry aerospace research, development and sustainment for unmanned air systems (UASs), personal air vehicles (PAVs), and logistics delivery air vehicles (LDVs). Across the different classes, target applications, and technologies, several barriers persist, including FAA flight certification, safety concerns, and specific technical and market validation needs. OFRN’s Federal and industry partners verified these concerns in their responses to OFRN’s Request for Information (October 2017). The focus of the SOARING RFP is to leverage the unique Federal and Ohio assets to systematically address these challenges.

Projects Funded

Brushless Doubly-Fed Machine (BDFM) and Drive System

Led by The Ohio State University, this project seeks to develop a hybrid electric engine to power next-gen airplanes and drones. This engine would be lighter, significantly more efficient, and capable of shutting down quickly in emergency conditions. Partners are Safran, University of Dayton Research Institute, NASA and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

UAV Detect-and-Avoid Sensor Fusion

Future drones will be flown in swarms and beyond the human pilots’ own limited lines of sight. These new drones — which will represent a $3.6B market by 2020 — will need a sensor that keeps them from hitting other objects in the air or on the ground. Led by Springfield company GhostWave, the goal of this project is to combine camera and radar systems create this necessary sensor. Cameras can be obscured by smoke or fog, while radars can be jammed. Neither cameras nor radar alone is enough to ensure drones can detect-and-avoid other objects, but a fused sensor will accomplish this objective. Partners on the project include the Air Force Research Laboratory, The Ohio State University, Ohio University, Converge Technologies, Event 38 Unmanned Systems, IS4S and Lockheed Martin.

Regional Unmanned Traffic Management System

Led by the University of Cincinnati (UC), the goal of this project is to develop a radar system that allows unmanned vehicles to geo-locate each other in order to cooperate rather than collide with other air, ground or water vehicles in an area. Vehicles equipped with this system could be deployed quickly in an emergency scenario, and they could maneuver through both urban and rural environments. Partners include the Air Force Research Laboratory, National UAS Training and Certification Center at Sinclair College, and industry partners Demeter and Simlat. UC intends to spin out a company to commercialize the final radar system.

Autonomous/ Remote Piloted “Air Uber” System

Led by Dayton company Persistent Surveillance Systems, the goal of the project is to take a 4-passenger aircraft and make it remote-piloted and able to refuel in the air. This will allow sustained operation in danger zones or delivery of medical supplies in remote areas that are currently inaccessible. The project has heavy interest from the Air Force Research Laboratory, NASA Glenn Research Center, and Ohio’s Air National Guard. Partners on the project include the Wright State University, Ohio University, and additional industry partners Autonodyne, MacAir Aviation, Bosma Tech and MacNauchtan Development.

Press Release July 17, 2018 OFRN Awards $6.3 million to Advance UAV Innovations