AUVSI announces TU partnership, expanding cyber security certification - The University of Tulsa
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AUVSI announces TU partnership, expanding cyber security certification

Blue graphic in the shape of the state of Oklahoma with megaphone outline inside graphicThe Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and Fortress Information Security (Fortress) today announced a groundbreaking partnership with Oklahoma State University, The University of Tulsa, and Tulsa Innovation Labs to enhance cybersecurity programs for commercial drones by expanding the accessibility of the Green UAS program.

Launched by AUVSI in August 2022 as the first product of AUVSI’s broader Trusted Cyber Program, the Green UAS program evaluates commercial UAS products’ cybersecurity vulnerabilities in domains such as corporate cyber hygiene, product and device security, and supply chain risk management.

“Commercial UAS platform and component manufacturers understand the importance of cyber and supply chain security but can be challenged with the time commitment and resources required to verify their systems compliance,” said Casie Ocana, director of Trusted Programs for AUVSI. “The addition of these new partners will streamline the review and remediation processes, reducing the time, resources, and costs required for applicants to complete the Green UAS certification process and ultimately lead to more verified secure drones in the market.”

Fortress Information Security, a leading cybersecurity company, supported the development of the Green UAS standard with AUVSI. The addition of new partners to the Green UAS process will increase review opportunities for vendors, expanding the catalog of approved platforms and components suitable for the necessary use cases like national security and critical infrastructure.

“Supply chain security is the foundation for UAS to reach their potential as vital components of U.S. national security, lifesaving products for first responders, and exploratory tools for the energy industry,” said Don Archer, vice president of Business Development & Government Relations at Fortress. “The more upfront work that can be done to ensure their safety and security, the quicker this needed capability can get to warfighters and the first responders who need them.”

In addition to widening the certification pathway, the unique nature of this collaboration paves the way for groundbreaking research and workforce development opportunities at the intersection of cybersecurity and autonomous systems. This topic is a key strategic priority for research institutions and new partners Oklahoma Cyber Innovation Institute (OCII) at The University of Tulsa and the Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education (OAIRE) at Oklahoma State University, as well as the nation at large.

“The modern battlefield and commercial trends demand we ensure the cybersecurity of our autonomous systems, which are critical to both U.S. national security and our economic competitiveness,” said Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Chad Raduege, executive director of OCII. “We are excited to contribute our decades of cybersecurity expertise – in collaboration with local and national partners – to help bolster and ultimately solve this problem on behalf of the industry and our nation.”

“The Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education (OAIRE) is at the forefront of pressing challenges facing the UAS industry, from emergency response and advanced air mobility to counter UAS,” said Dr. Jamey Jacob, executive director of OAIRE. “This partnership with OCII, Tulsa Innovation Labs, The University of Tulsa, and national partners, will enable us to expand our research portfolio, and provide hands-on learning opportunities for our students.”

This announcement marks the latest step in the development of a robust UAS and cybersecurity ecosystem in northeastern Oklahoma, bolstered in recent years by two prestigious federal awards – most recently with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s “Tech Hub” designation for the Tulsa Hub for Equitable and Trustworthy Autonomy (THETA) led by Tulsa Innovation Labs. This designation recognizes the region for its potential to cement U.S. leadership in autonomous technologies and industrial development.

“The greater Tulsa region is leading the way in the future of secure and trustworthy autonomy, including through our recent designation as a Tech Hub,” said Jennifer Hankins, managing director of Tulsa Innovation Labs. “The expansion of the Green UAS certification partnership to our local institutions further sets Tulsa apart as the nation’s premier region to design, test, build, and innovate the next generation of autonomous systems technologies.”

These efforts have also garnered significant support from state and local partners eager to reinforce Oklahoma’s leadership in this growing area.

“The dynamic collaboration between these two superb Oklahoma Academic Institutions, OSU and TU, alongside Tulsa Innovation Labs, Fortress, and AUVSI epitomizes Oklahoma’s pioneering spirit in advancing unmanned aircraft systems and cutting-edge advanced air mobility technologies,” said Grayson Ardies, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Aerospace and Aeronautics. “We are at the cornerstone of taking AUVSI’s Trusted Cyber Program to greater heights. The partnerships forged during nearly two years of conversations facilitated by the Oklahoma Department of Aerospace & Aeronautics, will accelerate the acquisition of Cyber Secure, NDAA-compliant Unmanned Aircraft Systems. These systems stand ready to serve Public Safety, Emergency Management, and a spectrum of governmental entities at the local, state, Tribal, and federal levels.”

This partnership will onboard its first cohort of companies by May 1, with additional opportunities in July 2024.