Cal Poly San Luis Obispo will get $5 million in federal funds to form a partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory to study drone technology.
U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, was one of three reps who helped direct $10 million to Cal Poly SLO and Cal Poly Pomona in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, according to an April 26 news release from Carbajal’s office.
The other two representatives, both Democrats, are Norma J. Torres of Ontario and Grace Napolitano of Los Angeles.
“Military-educational partnerships like the one between the Air Force and Cal Poly enhance our national security capabilities and provide Cal Poly students with hands-on learning opportunities that set them up for successful STEM careers when they graduate,” Carbajal said in the news release. “I look forward to seeing how these funds will be used to make Americans safer and the next generation of leaders more prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.”
The funds will be used to develop key technologies to help accelerate the AFRL’s strategic capabilities in secured unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones.
Cal Poly SLO will receive half of the money, giving engineering students the opportunity to conduct research on a modified general aviation airplane that will act as an unmanned aerial vehicle.
“We’re excited that our elected officials and the Air Force Research Lab recognize and acknowledge the incredible things our students and faculty do,” said Amy S. Fleischer, Dean of the Cal Poly College of Engineering, in a news release. “While this funding will benefit Cal Poly, the work that is done with the money will ultimately advance society.”
This is the second time in a year that federal funding for both Cal Poly schools and the AFRL have been allocated money for the program. In June 2020, lawmakers announced $5 million in funding for an agreement to “encourage and enhance the Air Force’s strategic capabilities in space operations through next generation access to space and maneuverability.”