In 1925, John Paul Riddle and T. Higbee Embry together formed the Embry-Riddle Company to teach flying. In spring 1926, the company opened the Embry-Riddle School of Aviation.
After a merge with the Aviation Corporation, the Embry-Riddle flying school was closed in 1930. However, in 1939 Riddle, John Graham McKay and wife Isabel re-established the school in Miami, Florida. The school was moved to Daytona Beach in April 1965.
Embry-Riddle became a nonprofit in 1959 and was awarded university status in 1968. It changed its name to The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1970.
Embry-Riddle’s history in flight education has positioned it to become a pioneering institution for the study of space-related endeavors. It offers applied research degree programs that are deeply rooted in research and focused on aviation and aerospace.
Today, the school offers seven primary fields of study covering a wide range of aviation-related and nonaviation-related industries including aviation; space; applied sciences; engineering; security, Intelligence, and safety; computers and technology; and business.
The faculty and students at the university are actively involved in technology research across these seven areas.
A team at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s College of Aviation is conducting a research that could play a major role in expanding restrictions on small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), or drones, being flown beyond the visual line of sight of their operators — marking an important milestone that would pave the way for advancements like drone delivery and urban air mobility.
Backed by funding from NASA’s University Student Research Challenge, the Assured Autonomy Research Initiative, as the project is called, aims to improve the safety and reliability of sUAS by creating a redundant flight control system. The proposed system could serve as a ‘backup’ to the primary flight computer, in the case of an inflight loss of communications or control.
If successful, the project could help push the Federal Aviation Administration toward easing current regulations, which would allow for wider use of autonomous aircraft in the National Airspace System.
An Embry-Riddle team patented a device that provides a workable strategy for combating the problem of debris accumulating in space from defunct satellites. Known as the Drag De-Orbit Device, or D3, the invention can guide small satellites from low Earth orbit, maneuvering them through Earth’s atmosphere, where they burn up.
Another team at Embry-Riddle developed better methods to predict where fragments from a warhead strike will fly, reducing the chance of collateral damage.
Thanks to a $442,508 grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the team merged data from static tests with advanced simulation capabilities, considering such factors as the speed and orientation of a warhead and using artificial neural networks and other machine learning tools to provide better estimates.
The technology could also eventually be applied in the case of collisions or explosions in space that shoot off fragments of space debris. Being able to predict where that debris will go could protect active satellites from being damaged.
In preparation for an upcoming moon mission, a team of engineers at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has completed construction of a miniature satellite camera system. With funding from the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium, the CubeSat, known as EagleCam, will take the world’s first third-person shot of a spacecraft as it makes an extraterrestrial landing.
The Nova-C, which will transport NASA and commercial payloads, will launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket. As the Nova-C approaches the moon, EagleCam will launch about 30 seconds before landing and freefall to the moon’s surface in time to capture what is essentially a selfie of the Nova-C spacecraft as it touches down.
Three wide field-of-view cameras will capture the landing from three sides of the CubeSat, and then send the photos back down to the lander via WiFi — a technology never before used on the moon and engineered entirely by Embry-Riddle students and faculty.
A team of researchers at Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University’s Research Park is developing Synthetic materials capable of shape shifting from a solid to a liquid state that might someday help building managers save on cooling costs.
By leveraging simple desktop equipment to manufacture very thin strings of a special phase-changing material, the team has opened the door to improved thermal energy storage on Earth and in space, too.
The team has demonstrated that thermal energy storage composites can be printed using a 3D printer and fused-filament deposition process. The breakthrough involves encapsulating a phase-change material, or PCM, inside a skinny composite filament that stores heat. The fused filaments can then be 3D printed to create heat-exchanging devices. When subjected to heat, solid-state PCMs absorb large amounts of heat as they change from one phase to another at constant temperature. This characteristic makes them attractive for use in thermal energy storage tanks.
Currently, thermal energy storage tanks are used to freeze water at night, when electricity rates are lower, so that ice can be melted to provide cooling during the day. Such tanks help reduce energy use in buildings. The research remains at an early stage, but prototype heat exchangers have been successfully fabricated.
Security, Intelligence, and Safety
Researchers at the university have received a $1 million federal grant to improve cybersecurity related to the systems that identify where aircraft are flying in the National Airspace System, which are known as positioning, navigation, and timing services. The project will employ artificial intelligence and machine learning to help improve cybersecurity as safety-critical systems rely more and more on technology, increasing the risk of malicious attacks.
To transport injured patients, helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) pilots must fly at night, at low altitudes, over rough terrain and in bad weather, and therefore, are involved in twice the number of fatal accidents. A research team worked to identify the specific HEMS crash scenarios associated with an increased likelihood of fatalities.
The research, published by the journal Aviation Medicine and Human Performance, looks at accident records over a 35-year period (1983-2018). It finds that flying at night, under Instrument Flight Rules, and post-crash fires are all associated with a higher likelihood of a fatality. The team hopes the research will raise awareness of the heightened risks faced by HEMS.
Computers and Engineering
The university’s degree programs are focused on computer, software, and electrical engineering programs where students gain handson experience in their first semester, culminating with a multi-disciplinary capstone project that demonstrates their skills.
In addition to educating aerospace engineers, Embry-Riddle is also a hands-on educator for other engineering disciplines. Its specialized degrees offer education for all engineering fields, including aerospace, civil, computer, electrical, mechanical, software, and systems.
Embry-Riddle’s Technology Transfer Office offers presentations on the subjects of technology transfer, intellectual property, or research commercialization.
For more information visit erau.edu/research/technology or contact Stephanie Miller, Executive Director, Technology Transfer and Research Park Initiatives at