Unmanned Vehicle Chapter Being Formed to Promote Region

The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council is pleased to be a sponsor of the currently forming Western Virginia chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). This important initiative was recently mentioned in the Roanoke Times:

Some Southwest Virginians involved in technology, engineering and science research say the region could be the next hotspot not only for the development of drones, but for any vehicle that doesn’t require a human pilot.

To try to take advantage of that, a group is on the way to soon starting a regional chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Assuming all the paperwork gets OK’d with no issues, the group is planning a chapter launch event for March.

AUVSI is a global nonprofit that advocates and promotes unmanned systems and the robotics community. The regional chapter would do much of the same work on a local level, said Nanci Hardwick, CEO of Christiansburg engineering company Aeroprobe, who is helping to form the chapter. That would include promoting the unmanned industry to the public, trying to bring more jobs in the field to the region and tapping into the local startup and college communities to help grow the work on unmanned vehicles, she said.

“Everyone who has participated in this conversation agrees … We are a region full of assets and would be a desirable place for companies to relocate,” Hardwick said.

Noting the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Hardwick said Southwest Virginia is already home to some key groups in the realm of unmanned systems.

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