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CORPUS CHRISTI (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A South Texas university’s drone research has been expanded to include air traffic, border oversight and fire prevention.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Monday announced additional projects using unmanned aircraft.

The school has collaborations with NASA, the Texas A&M Forest Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. A&M-Corpus Christi operates one of six Federal Aviation Administration test sites for unmanned aircraft systems.

The NASA project involves testing a system that coordinates and monitors drone flights at altitudes less than 500 feet.

Experts say drones have the potential to identify hot spots from the air and help safeguard firefighters during blazes.

Officials are also looking at sharing air traffic information involving border surveillance by high-altitude remotely controlled aircraft.

Last year, the FAA gave permission for Texas EqquSearch to use drones as they helped search for Christina Morris. The Fort Worth woman was last seen on August 30, 2014. Enrique Arochi is the prime suspect in Morris’ disappearance. In March, a grand jury indicted Arochi on an Aggravated Kidnapping charge.

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