New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia Team to Support FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Effort

   New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia Team to Support FAA Unmanned Aircraft
                          Systems Integration Effort

PR Newswire

COLLEGE PARK, Md., Sept. 27, 2013

COLLEGE PARK, Md., Sept. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The three
mid-Atlantic states of New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia and their leading
research universities have signed an agreement stating they will work
collaboratively towards supporting the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA)
research and testing efforts aimed at integrating unmanned aircraft systems
(UAS) into the national airspace system.

The states' proposals were submitted to the FAA by the University System of
Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, representing the combined
resources of New Jersey and Virginia, with Rutgers University and Virginia
Tech participating in the effort.

The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 enacted by Congress calls for
establishing six unmanned aircraft system research and testing sites in the
U.S. While a vast percentage of the work conducted to date has been
accomplished under defense programs, future work on the integration of UAS
into the national airspace will be implemented through a combination of
federal, state and local government resources, academic institutions, and
industry and aviation assets. As a result, an $89 billion commercial industry
is expected to flourish over the next ten years.

The final proposals were submitted to the FAA in May, with decisions on siting
the flight centers expected to be made before December 31, 2013.

"The combined resources of the mid-Atlantic state applicants represent a
majority share of the UAS research and testing assets in the United States,"
said Patrick O'Shea, vice president for research at the University of Maryland
College Park, the state's flagship campus. "As a collaborative unit, our
significant resources offer tremendous opportunity to satisfy the efforts
envisioned by the FAA and the larger UAS community related to this important
project."

"The real strength of our combined efforts is in our technical approach as a
team. Between our university facilities, our NASA and DoD installations, and
our industry and airport partners, we have a high caliber team that has been
involved in this work for decades," said Robert Walters, vice president of
research at Virginia Tech. "Being able to bring that capability to the table
without having to form those relationships will save time and money, and
produce a better outcome for all of us."

The submitted proposals address all of the research and testing environments
required by the FAA. The mid-Atlantic region contains both uncongested and
restricted airspace, as well as proximity to shared air routes and corridors
to allow a crawl-walk-run approach to UAS integration. The region also
presents all the challenges of land and water domains, as well as the
continuum of sea-level to high altitude operations. There is significant
interest in the application of UAS technology in the region, as well, since
all three states have a large presence in the agriculture industry, one of the
largest projected markets for UAS.

According to Thomas N. Farris, dean of the School of Engineering at Rutgers,
The State University of New Jersey, "The mid-Atlantic region has played a
predominant role geographically and commercially throughout the first hundred
years of manned aircraft flight research. Coupled with the strength of our
three universities' ongoing collaboration and demonstrated capabilities over
the past three decades within the realm of unmanned systems, we as a regional
partner group are well-positioned to ensure the safe and efficient integration
of UAS into our nation's skies."

The three states' governors — Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland, Gov. Chris
Christie of New Jersey, and Gov. Robert F. McDonnell of Virginia — expressed
their commitment to jointly support the FAA UAS test site infrastructure in a
letter to the Department of Transportation and the FAA.

SOURCE University of Maryland, Rutgers University and Virginia Tech

Website: http://www.mtech.umd.edu
 
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