News

Perrone Robotics Launches Public Autonomous Shuttle Service in Virginia

July 9, 2019

Perrone Robotics has teamed up with Albermale County and JAUNT, Inc., to announce a pilot program for Virginia’s first public autonomous shuttle service, with operation in Crozet, Va. The Autonomous Vehicle, Neighborhood Use (AVNU) service will be operated by Perrone’s TONY (TO Navigate You) autonomous shuttle technology, applied to a Polaris GEM electric vehicle.

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FAA Establishes New Restrictions on Drone Operations

July 9, 2019

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced last week a new series of airspace restrictions to take effect on July 11, 2019 for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS/ UAV) attempting to fly over national security sensitive locations.

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FAA Publishes Drone Rulemaking Documents

February 14, 2019

This week, the FAA made a major change to the registration ID marking requirements for small drone operators. The new rule requires an FAA-issued registration ID number to be placed on an external surface that can be seen upon visual inspection of the aircraft’s exterior. This revises the previous allowance for drone operators to place the registration number in a enclosed compartment, such as a battery case. Get all the important details of the new rule in "What Drone Operators Need to Know About the FAA’s Major Change to the Drone ID Marking Rule."

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Lane Stadium/Virginia Tech

June 21, 2018

In June, Veronica Spradlin, Montgomery County Public Schools high school engineering teacher, and GeoTEd-UAS cohort member, lead a historic mission to 3-dimensionally map Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium using UAS technology.

The objective of this mission was to capture aerial imagery and process it into a full 3D model of the stadium that can be reproduced on a 3D printer. To accomplish this, Spradlin and her team would capture more than 2,000 aerial UAS images of the stadium’s interior and exterior.

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Virginia is Creating a New Frontier in Unmanned Aerial Systems!

Cutting edge research and innovation is occurring daily here in Virginia.

Take a look at the world of tomorrow!

MAAP is located right here in Virginia and led by researchers from Virginia Tech, the University of Maryland, and Rutgers University of New Jersey. They provide FAA-designated Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) test sites and services across a diverse array of environments for National Airspace System integration research, vehicle systems integration, and the research required to mature these technologies for commercial application, as well as a wide range of supporting services. The MAAP and the Federal facilities within Virginia can provide any UAS testing environment from urban package delivery to expanses of linear infrastructure to large UAS operations in integrated civil/DoD or integrated air/maritime scenarios.

Virginia is quickly becoming the leader in UAV technology!

We offer a vast number of resources and facilities designed to get your business- and your products- flying high.

The UAV industry is growing rapidly, and no where is that more apparent than here in Virginia. NASA's Wallops Flight Facility and NASA's Langley Research Center have a rich history in flight research and operate Certificate of Authorizations (COAs) for Federal research purposes or research that involves direct industry/university partnerships with NASA or the DoD.

Learn why VIRGINIA is the place to be for the UAV industry!

The Road to Driverless Vehicles
Leads to Virginia

Until recently, self-driving vehicles were only seen in futuristic science fiction films. Thanks to the groundbreaking research and testing taking place here in Virginia, what was once science fiction will soon become reality.

Take a look at the world of tomorrow!

Of the many autonomous vehicle technologies in development, self-driving cars will have the most visible effect on the daily lives of Virginia's citizens. In 2010, the average Washington, D.C. area driver lost 67 hours to traffic delays, the worst congestion in the United States. 2011 Census statistics show that residents of Prince William, Stafford, and Fauquier counties have average commute times at or over 40 minutes. Self-driving cars could address this problem, increasing safety on our roads as well as passenger comfort and productivity. Already, semi-autonomous functions in some newer car models are improving highway safety by automatically braking when approaching an obstacle, for example.

Self-driving cars will maintain more constant speeds and more predictable stops and starts, preventing many traffic jams. Self-driving cars could help tackle other problems, from enabling senior citizens to retain their independence, to helping our smaller communities provide mass transit. Self-driving cars have already captured the public's attention with prototypes being developed by many of the major car companies. Perhaps the best-known prototype is the Google car, which has logged more than 300,000 autonomous driving hours.

Conventional road vehicles, such as passenger cars and freight trucks, are by far the most common type of ground vehicle. However, other ground vehicles include tractors, mining and construction vehicles, and a wide variety of "niche" vehicles such as those used by the military and law enforcement for explosive ordnance disposal.

Other applications for autonomous ground vehicles include self-driving farm equipment and mining vehicles, and fleets of transport vehicles that cooperate to quickly transfer cargo in congested ports.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) conducts research to save lives, time, money, and protect the environment. VTTI operates the Virginia Smart Road for automotive systems testing. Virginia is providing road access and infrastructure to support the driverless car revolution.

Virginia Automated Corridors

The Virginia Dept. of Transportation and the Dept. of Motor Vehicles have entered into a new partnership with the VTTI, Transurban and HERE- Nokia's mapping business to create the Virginia Automated Corridors. These corridors cover more than 70 miles of interstates and arterials in the Northern Virginia region and will provide car companies and suppliers of automated vehicles real-world environments they need prior to putting their vehicles on roadways.

The corridors integrate access to dedicated high-occupancy toll lanes, high-definition mapping capabilities, real-time traffic and incidents, intelligent routing, location cloud technology, pavement markings maintained by VDOT for completeness and retro-reflectivity, accurate localization via high-precision GPS systems, dedicated short-range communications and cellular technology, and sophisticated data acquisition systems. Collaboration between the VTTI Smart Road and the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership is but one example of our ability to leverage and integrate our expertise across multiple modes of transportation and unmanned systems.

This driverless car was designed by the VTTI spin-off TORC Robotics. TORC Robotics is one of the leading autonomous vehicle companies in Virginia. TORC placed 3rd in the DARPA Urban Challenge out of 89 teams. (Image Credit: TORC Robotics)

Automated Vehicles in Virginia
Go Beyond the Beach

The Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean provide Virginia with one-of-a-kind opportunities to study, relax, or just have fun. Find out how UMS technology will revolutionize safety, conservation, and recreation!

Take a look at the world of tomorrow!

Unmanned maritime vehicles (surface and underwater vehicles) routinely perform environmental monitoring in the open ocean and they could easily be adapted for similar use in Chesapeake Bay and other inland waterways. Fleets of underwater vehicles could inexpensively monitor the water quality of Virginia’s waterways, assisting the recreation and crabbing industries, among others. Chemical sensors on autonomous maritime vehicles could verify that potentially dangerous contaminants remain below acceptable thresholds and even locate the source of the contaminant. Patrolling autonomous maritime vehicles would operate regardless of wind and weather and would help the Commonwealth with port and waterway security.

The eastern Virginia region including Hampton Roads provides a maritime development environment like no other. This region provides, in one place:

  • Universities, small companies, and large firms that are advancing maritime vehicles, autonomy, manufacturing, and servicing.
  • Access to waters ranging from swamps and shallow rivers to a massive bay and wide open ocean.
  • Close proximity to system users for rapid prototyping, testing, and feedback.
  • Close proximity to Washington, DC stakeholders.
  • A family friendly local with low cost of living in vibrant city locations.
  • Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership support for UAS operations for joint maritime/air testing.
  • Close proximity to use cases including defense, Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Chesapeake Bay resource protection needs, and a nascent offshore energy industry.
  • The Hampton Roads waters and the Joint Atlantic & Chesapeake Ranges Cooperative (JACRC)is a hub of maritime systems testing from shallow rivers to deep ocean waters and are already attracting test customers from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts. 
  • Recent activities have included U.S. Navy tests of the Boston Engineering-developed GhostSwimmerunmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. The Navy's Autonomous Swarmboats conduct tests at the Reserve Fleet.
  • The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) sponsors the annual International RoboBoat Competitionin Virginia Beach, VA where student teams race autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs) of their own design through an aquatic obstacle course. The competition provides an opportunity for students to develop skills in system engineering by accomplishing realistic missions with autonomous vehicles in the maritime environment.
  • Additionally, unmanned aerial, ground, and maritime systems share many technical challenges in common. The proximity of Virginia's research institutions, federal laboratories, and testing capabilities provide the ecosystem where ideas and technology advances can be readily leveraged across these domains.