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By GCN Staff

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University of Maryland opens UAS test site

The University of Maryland has launched an unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test site in southern Maryland. With support from the University System of Maryland, the site will bring together leaders in academia, industry and government to accelerate UAS research.

Based in St. Mary’s County, a few miles from Naval Air Warfare Center Aviation Division at Patuxent River and the Naval Air Systems Command headquarters, the UMD UAS test site has been set up as a catalyst for research and development, according to its sponsors.

The test site is part of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, in concert with Virginia and New Jersey, under the Federal Aviation Administration UAS Test Site program, and will help the FAA integrate UAS into the national airspace.

Rep. Steny Hoyer, who represents the district in which UMD and the UAS test site are located, said, “With Patuxent River Naval Air Station serving as a premier facility for research, development, testing, and evaluation, our region is already a hub for aviation innovation, and today’s launch of the UAS test site will put southern Maryland at the forefront of integrating unmanned autonomous systems into our national airspace.”

Managed by UMD’s Clark School of Engineering, the test will also create and deliver products and programs in support of workforce development and higher education goals.

“I am pleased that the University of Maryland, College Park will manage the site, and that its educational value extends to all University System of Maryland faculty, staff and students, as well as K-12 students throughout the state,” said Chancellor William “Brit” Kirwan of the University System of Maryland.

The test site will serve as a hub for the University System of Maryland, government, and industry to address issues related to UAS technology and policy, and will provide new opportunities for those in the region.

“This new addition to the St. Mary’s County Technology Corridor is the first step toward a larger autonomous research initiative in the region,” said Maryland Delegate John Bohanan, who advocated for the establishment of the UMD UAS Test Site since the idea was conceived. “The test site represents the next big transformation of our Southern Maryland economy, and will offer up new job opportunities for Maryland residents.”

“Our existing relationship with the University of Maryland serves as the foundation of this new test site,” said Vice Admiral David Dunaway, commander of NAVAIR. “The sharing of human capital and expertise from the university, government, and industry will be a conduit for technology transfer, and the overall betterment of national security.”

Matt Scassero, a former Navy captain who helped lead the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, is Director of the new UMD UAS Test Site.

Posted by GCN Staff on Aug 07, 2014 at 9:43 AM


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