SOAR drone testing facility opens

Complex is among the nation's largest


This past fall, the UB and WNY community were able to visit UB’s new outdoor testing facility for uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs, commonly known as drones) and see some current research projects in action.

The facility, known as SOAR (Structure for Outdoor Autonomy Research), is a 24,000-square-foot netted structure located off Maple Road on the North Campus. It is among the nation’s largest such facilities on university campuses.

SOAR enables UB researchers, students and partners to develop cutting-edge technological solutions using UAVs to address challenges in transportation and delivery services, disaster response and national security.

Because it is enclosed, and thus considered an indoor flight facility, researchers are not subject to Federal Aviation Administration rules when testing UAVs.

Chase Murray, an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, hosted the event. Faculty and students from the departments of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, and Electrical Engineering provided demonstrations highlighting government and privately funded research and development projects.