Researchers around the world heading to Dayton for AFRL program

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Researchers around the world heading to Dayton for AFRL program

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Thomas Gnau/Staff
The side of the new Air Force Research Lab small business hub facing East Second St. downtown. The address already has something of a storied history, having served as home to some of the University of Dayton’s sensors research. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

Dozens of researchers around the world will work with Air Force Research Laboratory engineers next month in downtown Dayton on solving targeted issues with autonomous systems, an agency leader says.

Thirty-nine academic and industry researchers will join 10 AFRL scientists to work on the problem for about three months, said AFRL executive director C. Douglas Ebersole.

“It’s going to support the advancement of autonomous systems,” said Ebersole, who declined to elaborate.

The effort marks the first big project the agency has teamed with scientists and engineers at the downtown office at 444 E. Second St. The Wright Brothers Institute and AFRL partnered to run the office on a two-year lease.

“It’s kind of an experiment,” Ebersole said Thursday. “…We knew that in some of these emerging areas of autonomy, data analytics, mission learning, a lot of thought leadership is outside the fence of government labs.”

The 8,000-square foot facility was the former home of the University of Dayton Research Institute’s sensor lab and will anchor a newly dubbed downtown “Innovation District.”

“That’s one thing we’re going to use it as a place to host focus teams trying to work on hard problems,” Ebersole said.

With a more than $4 billion budget, AFRL has more than 6,000 scientists and engineers at its Wright-Patterson headquarters. The base is home to AFRL’s Aerospace Systems, Materials and Manufacturing, and Sensors directorates, and the 711th Human Performance Wing that includes the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine.

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