DriveOhio and Ohio UAS Center Form Drone-Focused Partnership

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DriveOhio, the state’s center for smart mobility, has teamed with the Ohio UAS Center to support unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research and development.

DriveOhio, supported by the Ohio Department of Transportation, aims to advance autonomous and connected technologies. The UAS center serves as a one-stop shop for those developing, testing and deploying drone technology in Ohio. As both UAS and autonomous and connected vehicle technologies advance, the teams will work collaboratively on air and ground smart mobility applications, leveraging resources to make smarter decisions and avoid duplicative efforts.

“UAS technology is advancing just as quickly as autonomous and connected vehicle technology, and Ohio understands how both can work together across multiple smart mobility initiatives,” comments Jim Barna, executive director of DriveOhio. “Companies operating new UAS technologies need opportunities to test and deploy them, and the nation needs a traffic management system that can make drone package delivery and transportation safe and commercially viable. We aim to do all of this in Ohio.”

One objective of the partnership is to develop an unmanned traffic management (UTM) system in support of transporting packages and people. FlyOhio is researching a SkyVision initiative with the Air Force Research Laboratory with a $5 million ground-based, detect-and-avoid radar system at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport. Additionally, FlyOhio will explore a second UTM solution along the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor, a 35-mile stretch of highway between Dublin and East Liberty, Ohio. Finally, FlyOhio will identify locations that can accommodate aircraft that take off and land vertically.

Another goal of the partnership is to facilitate the use of drone technology for a broad range of business services, such as environmental surveying, infrastructure inspection, project monitoring, and police and firefighting support.

Lastly, for workforce development, DriveOhio and the Ohio UAS Center are also actively engaging with smart mobility workforce development stakeholders from government, industry, education and local communities across the state to identify pilot programs around drone technologies.

“The Ohio UAS Center has been at the forefront of unmanned flight testing and operations, and this plan lays out our strategy to continue our leadership role in advancing this country’s smart mobility operations to the sky,” says Fred Judson, managing director of the Ohio UAS Center. “We’re excited to continue working with companies, government entities and local communities to develop unmanned traffic systems, promote UAS technologies and use cases, and develop the workforce here in Ohio to fill the jobs these new technologies will present.”

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