Why Hampton Roads is primed for an uptick in unmanned system operations Email Facebook LinkedIn Twitter
"Often used as a tool to tackle dull, dirty and dangerous jobs, unmanned systems, like drones, may soon be more commonplace in the Hampton Roads area.
“We talk a lot about the art of the possible, there’s so much more that these technologies can do to help us with,” said Tracy Tynan, director of the Virginia Unmanned Systems Center at the Virginia Center for Innovative Technology.
CIT and the Virginia Institute for Space Flight and Autonomy recently launched a program to develop a Hampton Roads-Eastern Shore Unmanned Systems (UxS) Strategic Playbook. The goal of the program is to focus on the continued development and expansion of unmanned ground, aerial, maritime and space technologies.
“We want to be able to demonstrate that these technologies can help us perform tasks more safely, more efficiently, at a lower cost and actually provide us with much better and more accurate data than maybe what our traditional methods have done,” Tynan said..."
The Virginia Unmanned Systems Center at CIT - In the News
PACKAGE DELIVERY: Teams made great strides on the package delivery front during IPP, and that progress will continue in BEYOND.
The Virginia team, led by the Center for Innovative Technology and with the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) FAA-designated UAS test site managing the projects, began the first residential drone package delivery program in late 2019 under Wing’s leadership. Drones now deliver goods from Walgreens, packages from FedEx, library books, orders from local restaurants and even Girl Scout cookies to Christiansburg residents, MAAP Director Tombo Jones said.
The deliveries began after about six months of community engagement, Jones said. Citizens had the opportunity to ask questions and voice their concerns, making them comfortable with the drone flights—a key component of both IPP and BEYOND.
What Wing learned through this community outreach will carry over as delivery operations expand, Head of Regulatory Affairs Dallas Brooks said. Collaboration also has been critical, and is the only way to get to the regulations that will make drone delivery viable.
Virginia: Moving at the Speed of Innovation | Virginia Stakeholder Meeting Video | Hosted by Tracy Tynan, Director, Virginia Unmanned Systems Center at CIT - the nexus for Virginia's activity in UxS - Land, Air, Sea, and Space.
[ *The Center is responsible for instilling an entrepreneurial culture regarding Autonomous Systems across Virginia, encourage economic growth across the Commonwealth via Autonomous emergent business activities, and continue and increase the Commonwealth's position as a leader of the Autonomous Systems community. ]
Thanks to its comprehensive flight test sites, miles of open roads, a long coastline with access to open water and world-class rocket launch facilities, Virginia is a natural location to support all domains in the unmanned systems (UxS) industry: air, ground, sea and space. Despite a challenging year due to a worldwide health pandemic and the sluggish economy created by the virus, UxS continued to accelerate in Virginia as the industry accomplished many new milestones and achievements.
The Virginia Unmanned Systems Center at CIT would like to thank The Virginia legislature and many others for support in establishing the Commonwealth as a national leader in the Unmanned Systems Industry – land, sea, air, and space (UxS). Evidence of that leadership is provided by Business Facilities Magazine, which ranked Virginia as the top state in the nation for unmanned aerial systems two years in a row for "unmanned systems leadership, facilities, and industry connections, both military and civilian."
The following short video provides insights on UxS from government and business leaders in Virginia.
Governor Northam Announces Silent Falcon UAS Technologies to Locate East Coast Operations in Warren County, Creating 249 New Jobs
Company to invest $6 million in new Mid-Atlantic headquarters for research, development, manufacturing
“We are really excited that Silent Falcon has chosen to build its future in Virginia,” said Bob Stolle, CEO at the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT). “They are pioneers in this young industry that will soon impact every aspect of our lives, and the Unmanned Systems Center at CIT is anxious to support them in that pursuit.”
Running Headfirst into the Regulations
“At DroneUp, we run head first into the rules, not away from them” - Tom Walker, CEO
Around the same time Wing was obtaining its Part 135 certification, DroneUp was testing the limits of Part 107 with funding and researchers from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology (CIT). At the former campus of Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Virginia, the team conducted 200 drone flights and successfully delivered 1.275-pound payload packages to 10-foot diameter targets on 1500-foot round trips using off-the-shelf commercial tech within FAA Part 107 flight rules. This Operation Last Mile exercise involved 10 pilots working through seven test scenarios, including one dubbed “E-VLOS to determine variables in performance between test operations within visual line of sight of the remote pilot in charge (RPIC), and operations where visual line of sight (VLOS) of the RPIC is occluded by terrestrial obstructions.”
Fast forward in time. DroneUp is now routinely conducting short-range final mile deliveries of COVID-19 at-home self-collection kits under Part 107. At locations in Las Vegas, Nevada, Cheektowaga, New York near Buffalo and, more recently, El Paso, Texas, DroneUp is flying home self-collection and contactless at home COVID test kits with a forty-five minute turnaround time from order placement to doorstep. In a little more than seven weeks, the company has racked up 1,340 miles, 114 flight hours in local neighborhoods and hundreds of deliveries.
"BEYOND builds on the success of its forerunner, the UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP), which was led by the U.S. Department of Transportation and managed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). That three-year program, which ended on Oct. 25, brought together companies, research organizations, state and local governments, and federal agencies on teams focused on high-impact drone-integration projects.
Virginia’s selection for the program in 2018 kicked off two-and-a-half years of remarkable progress in a state that already had a reputation as a trailblazer in this field. The state’s team, which will continue in the BEYOND program, is led by the Center for Innovative Technology. The Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP), an FAA-designated UAS test site whose leadership of multiple federal drone projects has propelled the industry forward, has managed the team’s three projects in collaboration with corporate partners Dominion Energy, State Farm, and Wing..."
- Multi-agency collaboration to create pilot program that will help ensure Virginia has the safest and most open UAS airspace in the U.S.
Virginia Growth Alliance: Supporting Unmanned System Innovation and COIVD-19 Research and Response in Rural Virginia
Herndon, VA, May 06, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The skies in Brunswick County were buzzing with activity last week. Leading unmanned aerial vehicle companies were demonstrating the viability of using drones for medical emergency package delivery. This operation took place in response to the White House task force on Coronavirus (COVID-19). The former Saint Paul’s College campus located in the Town of Lawrenceville, Virginia provided the perfect test location.
Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) coordinated the multiday testing effort that was led by DroneUP of Virginia Beach and included UPS and its subsidiary UPS Flight Forward, Workhorse Group and AirBox Group based in Richmond. The group was researching how unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, might assist medical professionals in their fight to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.
The experiment evaluated the commercial drone industry’s ability to scale up small UAS deliveries in order to assist the U.S. healthcare system during the pandemic.
Tom Walker joined Neil Cavuto today on Fox Business Network to discuss DroneUp's recent drone delivery testing with UPS, Center for Innovative Technology Virginia (CIT), and Workhorse Group Inc. Click through to watch now: https://video.foxbusiness.com/v/6151637756001/#sp=show-clips
Neil Cavuto @TeamCavuto | Senior Vice President, Managing Editor and Anchor for both FOX News Channel and FOX Business Network. Anchor of FNC's Your World, Cavuto LIVE and FBN's Cavuto: Coast to Coast.
Interview Tom Walker, DroneUp CEO, discusses how his company is teaming up with UPS to deliver medical supplies to frontline COVID-19 workers | Tom Walker | CEO of DroneUp | CIT GAP Funds Portfolio Company | Virginia Center for Unmanned Systems at CIT Advisory Board Member
To determine how UAS could help medical professionals in their fight to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, DroneUp, UPS and its subsidiary UPS Flight Forward (UPSFF), Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), and Workhorse Group recently came together to test the technology in Lawrenceville, Virginia.
Virginia Center For Innovative Technology (CIT), UPS, DroneUp, And Workhorse Group Test Unmanned Systems For Coronavirus Response
UPS Press Room
Drone-assisted deliveries have often been thought of as the future, but a recent partnership between United Parcel Service (UPS), Workhorse Group, DroneUp and the Virginia Center for Innovative Technology has proven that future is now.
VIRGINIA CENTER FOR INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY (CIT), UPS, DRONEUP, AND WORKHORSE GROUP TEST UNMANNED SYSTEMS FOR CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE
Herndon, VA, April 21, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) recently partnered with UPS’s (NYSE:UPS) drone delivery subsidiary UPS Flight Forward (UPSFF) and drone technology companies DroneUp and Workhorse Group (NASDAQ: WKHS) in tests designed to determine how unmanned aerial systems can assist medical professionals in their fight to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.
“I am encouraged to see so many private sector partners stepping up and thinking innovatively as we work together to combat COVID-19,” said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. “Drones can be an important way to deliver medical supplies while people stay home to adhere to our social distancing guidelines. Virginia is well-positioned to be a leader in the unmanned system industry, and we are pleased to be part of this initiative.”
Press release here: http://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/04/21/2019373/0/en/VIRGINIA-CENTER-FOR-INNOVATIVE-TECHNOLOGY-CIT-UPS-DRONEUP-AND-WORKHORSE-GROUP-TEST-UNMANNED-SYSTEMS-FOR-CORONAVIRUS-RESPONSE.html
The future of public safety has landed in Albemarle County, as first responders across the commonwealth gather for the 4th annual Public Safety UAS Conference
CIT Press 2020-2021