University of Maryland opens UAS test site in Southern Maryland

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The University of Maryland (UMD) has launched a new Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) test site in Southern Maryland.

Based in St. Mary’s County, just a few miles from Naval Air Warfare Center Aviation Division (NAWCAD) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) headquarters, and NAWCAD Webster Field Annex, the UMD UAS Test Site will be a catalyst for research and development, according to university officials.

“Our expertise in autonomous vehicles research, aerospace engineering, and rotorcraft technology has positioned the University of Maryland as a pioneer and strong partner in the advancement of UAS research,” said Mary Ann Rankin, senior vice president and provost of UMD.

Managed by UMD’s Clark School of Engineering, the UMD UAS Test Site will create and deliver products and programs in support of workforce development and higher education goals.

“I am pleased that the University of Maryland, College Park will manage the site, and that its educational value extends to all University System of Maryland faculty, staff and students, as well as K-12 students throughout the state,” said Chancellor William “Brit” Kirwan of the University System of Maryland.

The test site will serve as a hub to focus the capabilities of the people and infrastructure in Southern Maryland, the University System of Maryland, government, and industry to address issues related to UAS technology and policy, and will provide new opportunities for those in the region.

“This new addition to the St. Mary’s County Technology Corridor is the first step toward a larger autonomous research initiative in the region,” said Maryland Delegate John Bohanan, who advocated for the establishment of the UMD UAS Test Site since the idea was conceived. “The test site represents the next big transformation of our Southern Maryland economy, and will offer up new job opportunities for Maryland residents.”

“Our existing relationship with the University of Maryland serves as the foundation of this new test site,” said Vice Admiral David Dunaway, commander of NAVAIR. “The sharing of human capital and expertise from the university, government, and industry will be a conduit for technology transfer, and the overall betterment of national security.”

The UMD UAS Test Site is part of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, in consort with Virginia and New Jersey, under the FAA UAS Test Site program, and will help the FAA integrate UAS into the national airspace.

Matt Scassero, a former Navy captain who helped lead the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, is Director of the new UMD UAS Test Site.

For more information: UAS-test.umd.edu

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