Three states to work together on FAA UAS integration efforts

Three Mid-Atlantic states — Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia — recently signed an agreement to work collaboratively to support the Federal Aviation Administration’s integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace.

The FAA is currently in the process of selecting six UAS test sites, which will be used to conduct research into how to safely integrate UAS, and proposals were submitted by the University System of Maryland as well as the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, which represents New Jersey and Virginia with support from Rutgers University and Virginia Tech. A decision by the FAA is expected before the end of the year, but the recent agreement assures that whether one or both of the proposals is accepted, the three states will work together.

“The combined resources of the mid-Atlantic state applicants represent a majority share of the UAS research and testing assets in the United States,” Patrick O’Shea, vice president for research at the University of Maryland College Park, said in a joint statement from the schools. “As a collaborative unit, our significant resources offer tremendous opportunity to satisfy the efforts envisioned by the FAA and the larger UAS community related to this important project.”

Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Gov. Robert F. McDonnell of Virginia also expressed their commitment to jointly support the FAA UAS test site infrastructure in a letter to the Department of Transportation and the FAA.

[ photo courtesy of VDOS ]