On one hand this could be a good thing in some respects but is anyone else concerned for the open source entrepreneurial community by this announcement? Introduction of multiple layers of dysfunctional top down bureaucracy, academia, regulation and stifling of real innovation from an exclusionary closed system will not work in the 21st century will it? The bottom up innovations and open driving force in the "drone" community we have all benefitted from in the past few years may eventually disappear from public view down the rabbit hole of a government approved and funded institutional "research" project. All for the public good and safety of course. Did I miss ( and I well could have and do miss this kind of thing) the whole one month long FAA solicitation to institutions for this initiative or was it just decided by someone in Washington?
What or where was the application process open to the public? Is there an open source lobby effort looking out for or keeping the wider community informed on what is done or proposed in Washington? There really needs to be an open and public non financial or politically invested oversight group to direct and mentor this program separate from any of the entities mentioned.