VT Drone Cage

Virginia Tech’s Drone Park Celebrates One Year

Montgomery County, VA – The Drone Park at Virginia Tech continues to create new opportunities across campus after being open for over a year.

The park opened last Spring as a result of the collaboration between the College of Engineering, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, and the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS). The 85-foot tall cage offers new resources to both users inside and outside of the university. Within the first year, over 2,000 people have utilized the park. The typical users are students building and testing custom drones or professors providing hands-on flight experience for their class. Additionally, you can find the university’s top-ranked drone racing team practicing their skills and the drone design team testing out drone-delivery systems.

“Faculty and students across the campus are working together to develop new opportunities for advancing research around unmanned aerial vehicles. As a leader in the development and testing of this technology, Virginia Tech continues to create field-based facilities and build research capacity and expertise for improving these important systems.”
– Cyril Clarke, VT Executive Vice President and Provost

The park offers the tallest flight space in the country and provides a unique “freespan” flight space made possible by steel cables holding the net up. The net provides an extra layer of safety for new pilots and experimental aircraft. The net also means the airspace is exempt from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines which enables researchers to test prototype aircraft and run tests like nighttime flights and fully automated missions that would be otherwise prohibited in open airspace. Additionally, the park provides resources for pilots at any level. They have a collection of aircraft for individuals just starting out and tools to modify aircraft as more experience pilots are practicing their skills. University Libraries has even launched a drone-lending program where students can check out aircraft to fly in the park.

Learn more about booking time at the drone park and park protocol HERE.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

Drone Deliveries

First U.S. Drone Delivery Location Announced

Christiansburg, VA – Christiansburg will be the home to the first U.S. trial location for drone delivery.

Wing, a Google subsidiary, was the first the drone delivery system to receive the Air Carrier Certification from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). They have also partnered with the Commonwealth of Virginia to work on federal, state, and local policies surrounding unmanned systems. Additionally, they collaborated with the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) to conduct hundreds of drone deliveries to staff and students at Virginia Tech in 2016 and in 2017 as part of NASA and the FAA’s unmanned traffic management system testing.

“I believe unmanned technology has the potential to fundamentally transform our economy and our lives — and southwest Virginia is poised to be at the forefront.” – Senator Mark Warner

They have selected a location in Christiansburg off Welcome Street, near Lowe’s, however have not released what type of deliveries or what neighborhoods will receive the deliveries. Wing has stated that they plan to be launching by the end of the year, with hopes for the first launch coming this Fall.

The goal is to partner with local retailers to conduct deliveries through the use of an app where customers can place their order and then receive it at their doorstep in a small cardboard box. The company has said that the drone can fly up to 6 miles from the original location which means they could theoretically reach well beyond Interstate 81 to the south of its nest and north of the Drillfield on Tech’s campus.

Read more about all the cool partnerships Wing has in Australia and Finland, their existing locations, HERE.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

cybersecurity

Commonwealth Cyber Initiative’s Network Certified

New River Valley – The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative’s (CCI) statewide network was certified this week by the Virginia Research Investment Committee. The goal of the CCI is to bring together the strengths of Virginia’s higher education institutions, industries, and government to collectively develop technologies and train talent in order to prevent cyber crimes.

cybersecurity

Four, university-led nodes were established engaging 320 faculty members across 39 higher education institutions, as well as 65 private companies, four federal partners, and 45 other regional partners. This platform will position Virginia to be a leader in the intersection of cybersecurity and data analytics, machine learning, and autonomous systems. Starting in 2020, Virginia has budgeted $20 million annually to support creating an ecosystem to generate cyber-related research, education, and statewide engagement.

“CCI is here to differentiate Virginia as a leader in cybersecurity education, research, and business startups – especially commercial startups,”

– Jeff Reed, Interim Executive Director, CCI

The program will establish two initiatives within the network, the CCI Fellows Program and a 5G test bed. The Fellows Program will focus on research and program development among faculty from across the state. This collaboration will also support the development and utilization of the 5G test bed. The test bed will provide the opportunity to develop and demonstrate cybersecurity technologies and solutions in order to get in front of potential security threats.

Now that the nodes have been certified, the next steps are to engage with the Virginia Research Investment Committee’s working group, regional leaders, and the broader network community to establish each node’s strategic plan. With Virginia Tech heading the southwest Virginia node, exciting opportunities lie ahead for the information technology and unmanned systems industries in the New River Valley.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

Unmanned Systems

Unmanned Systems Receives Funding from Governor Northam

Blacksburg, VA – Two unmanned systems companies in Blacksburg received Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) awards from Governor Ralph Northam.

The CRCF awarded a total of $2.51 million to 41 companies in the Commonwealth of Virginia who specialize in one of five industries: clean energy, cybersecurity, data analytics, life sciences, and unmanned systems. According to the press release, the “CRCF drives technological and economic development in Virginia by investing in research, development, and commercialization of early-stage, high-potential technologies, when funding can be an essential catalyst to successful market entry.”

Mr. Kyle Schwartz of AVEC, Inc., Acoustical and Vibrations Engineering Consultants, received $49,997 for the advancement of software-based noise prediction tools for multirotor aircraft and Mr. Joshua Eckstein at Eksdyne Inc, was awarded $49,936 to further focus on integrated system for evolving and developing devices.

“Virginia is recognized as one of the most innovative states in the nation, and we know that identifying and supporting Virginia innovators at critical early stages through state-funded programs like CRCF is key to maintaining and expanding our leadership role. The Commonwealth will continue to deliver programs that facilitate bringing pioneering technologies and ideas to market and create a culture where entrepreneurs will thrive. – Governor Ralph Northam

Read more about other companies and organizations who received an award in one of the five industries including Virginia Tech in the Life Sciences industry and MOVA Technologies, Inc. in Clean Energy.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

VTTI Shuttle

New Autonomous Shuttle Serves VTTI

BLACKSBURG, VA – More autonomous vehicles are now operating in Virginia’s New River Valley with the addition of the autonomous shuttle at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

The shuttle, which only goes 12 mph, takes students and employees just a half mile down the road from the BT bus stop to the front of the building.

The normal path people usually have to walk on is hilly and contains no sidewalk. The shuttle solves the problem of “last mile transportation” that many autonomous researchers are working to fix.

VTTI purchased the shuttle from EasyMile, a French company, and is conducting new research on how both passengers and other drivers respond to the shuttle.

This project is another great announced that will bring visibility for the Unmanned Systems industry in Virginia’s New River Valley.

For more information, read Jacob Demmitt’s article for the Roanoke Times.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

Torc Shuttle

Torc Partners with Transdev on Autonomous Shuttle

VIRGINIA’S NEW RIVER VALLEY – Torc Robotics and Transdev are partnering on a fully autonomous shuttle, which the companies announced Monday at CES19 in Las Vegas.

Torc, a leading autonomous technology provider, is licensing its L4 Asimov self-driving software and sensor suite for the shuttle. Transdev, an operator and global integrator of mobility solutions, is providing its supervision system, connected infrastructure and client application, and embedded technology.

Torc shuttle

The companies intend the shuttles to act as complementary mobility to existing public transit networks. The shuttles could also act as an introduction of autonomous vehicles to the public.

“Our partnership brings together two companies with a similar vision for the future of autonomous mobility,” says Michael Fleming, Torc CEO. “We believe that shared mobility will be one of the cornerstone applications that lead the way to mass adoption of self-driving consumer vehicles.”

The shuttle was first announced in September 2018 by Transdev and Lohr, a leading French industrial company with more than 50 years of worldwide industrial experience in manufacturing vehicles. The i-Cristal autonomous shuttle can hold a maximum of 16 passengers.

For more information, read the full press release from Torc or TechCrunch.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

VA Best State

Virginia Is Business Facilities’ 2018 State Of The Year

~The Commonwealth secures BF’s top annual honor with a diversified and successful high-tech growth strategy.~

TINTON FALLS, NJ – Virginia has been named Business Facilities magazine’s 2018 State of the Year.

“Virginia snared more than $5.5 billion in capital investment for its top two projects, and its top five job-creation efforts netted nearly 28,000 new jobs in a diverse and well-executed growth strategy that has made VA a high-tech force to be reckoned with,” said BF Editor-in-Chief Jack Rogers.

Rogers noted that VA has been a perennial contender for BF’s top honor due to its proximity to Washington DC, making it an attractive location for major corporate headquarters. In recent years, the Commonwealth has invested in fiber-optic networks that have made Northern Virginia the nation’s leading data center hub.

“The 21st-century infrastructure that Virginia has meticulously installed will serve as a fertile root system that will nurture a lush forest of high-tech enterprises in the Commonwealth for years to come,” Rogers said. “Virginia not only is ready to compete in the emerging high-tech battleground—it shows every intention of dominating the field.”

Crystal City, VA emerged last fall as a winner of the most coveted economic development project of the young century when Amazon awarded the city half of its $5 billion, 50,000-job HQ2 project (Long Island City in Queens, NY got the other half of the HQ2 mega-project, which was bisected by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos shortly before the site selections were announced).

The ultra-high-profile HQ2 victory was the second volley in an impressive one-two punch that also saw Micron announce in August a $3-billion expansion of its semiconductor complex in Manassas, VA. Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra told Reuters the expansion would meet the burgeoning demand for more powerful computer chips that run collision-avoidance systems and other semi-autonomous automotive systems, a global market expected to reach $6 billion by 2021.

“Our State of the Year honorees usually have one thing in common,” Rogers said. “They can walk and chew gum at the same time—which in this case means they’re upgrading traditional industries while accelerating emerging growth sectors.”

New investments in traditional industries in VA in 2018 included paper and packaging leader WestRock’s decision to put $248 million into its paper mill and extrusion facilities in Alleghany County.

Virginia also excelled as a prime destination for foreign direct investment, including an announcement from Press Glass, the largest independent flat glass processing operation in Europe, to establish its first Virginia manufacturing facility in Henry County.

Virginia posted a strong showing in BF’s 2018 State Rankings Report, earning top-10 results in our Best Business Climate, Cybersecurity Employment Leaders, Drone Leaders, and Workforce Training Leaders categories, among others.

Business Facilities is a national publication that has been the leading location source for corporate site selectors and economic development professionals for more than 50 years.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

TORC Onward NRV

TORC Continues to Receive National Media Attention

TORC, a leader in the unmanned systems industry, continues to roll out groundbreaking technology that puts the growing company and Virginia’s New River Valley on the map.

Recently dubbed Blacksburg’s “poster child” by the Roanoke Times, TORC has long been celebrated as an important asset.

TORC recently unveiled a new autonomous vehicle – a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica that contains the same technology as Asimov, but with a much more inconspicuous look.

TORC Onward NRV Pacifica Blacksburg

The new priority for TORC is commercialization; it’s less about showing off and more about showing up.

“We’ve been waiting for the time when it would be feasible to apply our system to consumer cars,” said TORC CEO Michael Fleming in a post on TORC’s website. “That time is now. Last year we were focused on proving the technology works. This year our focus is moving forward with commercialization.”

Virginia’s New River Valley has a large presence of both advanced manufacturing and software development, both of which the unmanned systems industry requires. The presence of a company like TORC legitimizes the area as a hub for unmanned systems.

“For [Torc] to be making a significant impact in the industry and them being located here really helps justify why we say it’s a great place for unmanned systems,” said Onward NRV Executive Director Charlie Jewell in a interview with the Roanoke Times.

TORC’s presence in the region helps spur activity for the industry and calls attention to applicable regional assets.

TORC was also recently covered in Site Selection Magazine by Ron Starner, the Executive Vice President of Conway, Inc. during the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center’s VIP Media Day.

Starner had the chance to experience TORC’s self-driving technology firsthand.

TORC CEO Michael Fleming Onward NRV

“It would be my first ride ever in a self-driving car,” said Starner. “It likely won’t be my last. For the next half hour, the Torc-driven SUV navigated sharp curves, merged onto a busy highway, passed slow-moving trucks, avoided over-eager gawkers, and obeyed every law of the road, all in a steady rain in Appalachian hills, and did it flawlessly.”

Fleming helped Starner discover what locals have known for awhile: Virginia’s New River Valley is great for Unmanned Systems.

“Having 30,000 students in our backyard is an advantage,” Said Fleming. “The relatively low cost of living and the fact that the state of Virginia does not overregulate self-driving technology are big advantages for the work we do. Plus, we have the mountains, rural roads, fog, rain and snow — all the elements needed to fully validate self-driving technology.”

As the Unmanned Systems industry continues to grow, so will TORC. The company has grown more in the past year than it has in the previous ten.

TORC continues to draw national attention and be a local source of pride, proving this is just the beginning of UAS in the NRV.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

Onward NRV IEDC Award

Onward NRV Receives Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council

VIRGINIA’S NEW RIVER VALLEY – Onward New River Valley received a Bronze Excellence in Economic Development Award for the Targeted Industry Brochures, in the category of Special Purpose Print Brochure from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, October 2, during the IEDC Annual Conference, which was held September 29 – October 3, in Atlanta, Georgia.

“We are honored to receive an IEDC Excellence Award for the Targeted Industry Brochures we created this year,” said Onward NRV Marketing Manager Abigail Hammack. “It is incredibly exciting to be recognized by our peers for creating a viable asset to promote Virginia’s New River Valley. These brochures allow us to refine and easily execute our pitch for why the NRV is a hub for each of these industries.”

Onward NRV developed a series of four brochures that highlight the region’s experience, assets, and offerings relative to each target industry. Each of these brochures called out the high-level business advantages of choosing the New River Valley. Each brochure also identified subsector industries, industry awards and accolades, and quotes and images from successful existing regional businesses in each category. The brochures are downloadable on the NRV website and are available in hard copy at the Onward NRV.

“This year our judges reviewed some extraordinary projects that advanced both communities and businesses,” said Craig Richard, CEcD, FM, President and CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and 2018 IEDC Board Chair. “We congratulate all the award winners and thank everyone who nominated their projects for sharing their success with fellow IEDC members. What we learn from each other helps us to grow and advance as a profession. We look forward to even greater participation from economic developers across the globe in the 2019 awards program.”

For more information about Onward NRV, contact Marketing Manager Abigail Hammack at abigail@onwardnrv.org or visit www.OnwardNRV.org.

About the International Economic Development Council: The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is the world’s largest membership organization for economic development professionals. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life in their communities by creating, retaining, and expanding jobs that facilitate growth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, our members represent the entire range of economic development. Learn more at iedconline.org.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

Unmanned Systems Conference Blacksburg NRV VA

National Unmanned Systems Symposium to Take Place in NRV

BLACKSBURG, VA – The Ridge & Valley chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) will host their second annual conference on October 9-10 in Blacksburg, VA to explore the state of unmanned systems technology, education, and research.

Peter Kunz, Ph.D., the Chief Technologist at Boeing HorizonX, will be the keynote speaker at the symposium.

The event will focus on the theme, “At the Intersection.” Main event programming will occur on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg at the Inn at Virginia Tech. Local tours and other activities will be off-campus in the Blacksburg area.

The theme represents the progress in unmanned systems technology and the challenges and opportunities increasingly appearing at the intersections of fundamental areas: human with machine; sensing with control; open architecture with secure software and communication; air with land and sea.

“I’m so excited for ‘At the Intersection,’” said Nanci Hardwick, CEO of Aeroprobe and President of AUVSI Ridge & Valley. “Our second annual event is coming after the extreme success of our first event, which brought attendees and speakers from all over the country and was regarded as a highly organized event that delivered a lot of value to participants. ‘At the Intersection’ is another great opportunity for unmanned systems professionals to learn more about the current state of the industry. Plus, it calls attention to all the fantastic companies and assets we have here in the New River Valley.”

The event will feature plenary speakers, interactive panels, and demonstrations by leaders from industry, government, and education. Activities will include networking, recruiting opportunities, and tours of area unmanned systems facilities.

Abstract submissions and registration for the event are still open.

Contact

For more information visit www.auvsiridgeandvalley.org/events or contact Abigail Hammack at abigail@onwardnrv.org. Follow AUVSI Ridge & Valley on Facebook and Twitter.

About AUVSI Ridge & Valley

The Ridge & Valley chapter of AUVSI seeks to advance unmanned systems at the regional level, and to help drive publicity and awareness for the region as a resource for technical expertise. Additionally, the chapter seeks to bring more unmanned systems companies and jobs to the area, while working with local colleges and universities to develop educational and workforce development needs.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.