Aerospace and Defense / Maryland Workforce / Innovation
5 ways Maryland excels in unmanned and autonomous systems
By Julie Miller /
May 25, 2021

With dedicated facilities, a collaborative environment, and a talented workforce, Maryland is on the leading edge of a robust and rapidly growing unmanned vehicle community, which also includes robotics. Keep reading to see five ways Maryland excels in unmanned and autonomous systems. 

  1. University facilities and research.The University of Maryland’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site in Southern Maryland is dedicated to accelerating the safe, responsible application of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). It is one of only a handful of institutions across the country that work directly with the Federal Aviation Administration to advance UAS research and demonstrate operational capabilities, with the ultimate objective of seamlessly integrating UAS into national airspace. Additionally, Johns Hopkins University has dedicated institutions to study autonomous systems, which include the Autonomous Systems, Control, and Optimization Lab and the Institute for Assured Autonomy. Researchers within Morgan State University’s Urban Mobility & Equity Center also evaluate novel transportation methods. 
  2. Pioneering applications and strong partnerships. Innovation in unmanned and autonomous initiatives are bolstered by strong partnerships in various sectors. We saw how Maryland’s UAS industry and medical system partners came together to achieve the first-ever drone delivery of a viable organ in 2019. The feat was organized between the University of Maryland’s UAS experts, the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and the University of Maryland Medical Center. Watch a video to see it in action
  3. Dedicated facilities for unmanned systems. In early 2021, the first UAS-dedicated hangar on the East Coast opened for public use at the Salisbury Airport. The facility, the UAS Automation Innovation Center, includes a 5,000 square-foot hangar, office space, and a dedicated launch and recovery site, and was built to be a hub for drone operations throughout the region. 
  4. Innovation goes beyond drones. The Maryland unmanned and autonomous systems community isn’t only focused on the air. Several companies are innovating on the sea and on the land, including Oceaneering, which creates underwater remotely operated vehicles and Robotic Research, which provides autonomous technology for large transit applications. 
  5. A workforce to support the industry. Maryland’s unmanned and autonomous systems industry is supported by one of the strongest workforces in the nation. Particularly, the state boasts the number one concentration of aerospace engineers, as well as the leading concentration of workers in STEM. Nationally, the state is second in the percentage of professional and technical workers. This, according to Airgility’s CEO Pramod Raheja makes all the difference for their growing UAS company. Watch this video to hear more from Pramod




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