A broad coalition of local business groups and high-tech companies launched a new regional unmanned systems effort that has the potential to increase investment in the region, spark job growth and bring additional companies to the area.
The San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC), Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International -- San Diego (AUVSI) and San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. (EDC), in concert with regional chambers of commerce and unmanned autonomous systems (UAS) developers and industry associations, are leading efforts to create a region-wide center of excellence (COE) for unmanned systems that operate in the air, on the water, underwater and on land.
The group says the San Diego area is well suited to be a COE for unmanned systems due to its good weather, access to ranges, academic institutions with strong engineering curriculums, a highly technical workforce and the presence of two large manufacturers of UAS.
The effort is an offensive move stemming from Operation San Diego, which SDMAC, EDC and others put in play about a year ago to protect San Diego's military economy.
Unmanned systems are growing in importance for many federal government agencies, including the Department of Defense, and in the commercial market.
The UAS industry supports more than 7,000 jobs and accounts for more than 12 percent of all DoD contracting activities in the county, according to an industry report by the San Diego North Chamber of Commerce.
Northrop Grumman Corp.'s (NYSE: NOC) decision to designate its Rancho Bernardo facility as their Center of Excellence for UAS development is expected to bring approximately 300 new jobs to the region.
As part of the effort to create a region-wide COE for Unmanned Systems, SDMAC and EDC are coordinating efforts to have Southern California designated as a UAS test site by the Federal Aviation Administration.
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