"BEST NEW ENTRY" FOR UAS PROJECT (NRCC) - American Helicopter Society Competition #30 LEADING LOCATION FOR NEW & EXPANDING BUSINESSES - Area Development $40 MILLION IN R&D EXPENDITURES - Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (’17) 2 FAA AERIAL TEST SITES - Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership 3.4 MILES OF SMART ROAD TEST TRACK - Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (’17)
UNIVERSITY RESEARCH & EDUCATION PROGRAMS
UNMANNED SYSTEMS CULTURE
There are several robotics clubs in the NRV, including the Tuxedo Pandas, a club for students from 7th to 10th grade. They build robots and promote STEM throughout the NRV while participating in the global robotics program For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Tech Challenge. The pandas even went to China for the World Robotics Conference, which consists of a forum, exhibition, and robot competition.
VTTI operates the Virginia Smart Road, a unique, state-of-the-art, closed test-bed research facility, which is an FAA approved testing site. It has weather-making capabilities, one of the tallest bridges in Virginia, and allows testing for real vehicles in realistic settings. The Smart Road was established in 2000 and has hosted 28,000 hours of research. Expansions for testing include a customizable urban track and a rural road.
The drone cage on the Virginia Tech campus is a $1.2 million 300’x120’ unmanned aerial vehicle netted facility. It is a part of a $75 million plan to emphasize intelligent infrastructure. Plus, Virginia Tech’s Kentland Farm has several FAA Certificates of Operation. The primary purpose is to enable experimental research involving small flight vehicles. VTTI also has about 400 acres of aerial space for UAV testing.