In April 2019, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Major General William Cooley, Commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, launched SkyVision. DriveOhio's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center and AFRL began testing the groundbreaking aviation technology at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport.
SkyVision, an air traffic control system, is a collaboration between AFRL and the State of Ohio which safely, accurately and effectively allows UAS' drones to detect and avoid other aircraft while in flight.
The FAA authorized a special waiver to allow AFRL to test defense-related drone technology without reliance on a visual observer or chase aircraft.
“As our country steps more and more into the unmanned age of flight, this technology is on the forefront of the aviation frontier, making Ohio a critical national asset for the research and development of UAS technology,” said Governor DeWine. “This also opens the door for commercial companies to work with Ohio, AFRL, and the FAA to test their own UAS-related technology using our SkyVision detection system. This is a major step in revolutionizing the transportation industry, with Ohio leading the way in aerospace, defense, and aviation innovation.”
“This is an important development in the progression of unmanned aircraft,” said Major General William Cooley, Commander of AFRL at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. “This waiver provides the latitude to test beyond-line-of-sight keeping AFRL on the leading edge of world-class research and accelerates the delivery of technology that makes a difference to the warfighter.”
“By enabling our lower-altitude airspace for advanced modes of transportation, we’ll be able to facilitate new opportunities around advanced autonomous aircraft research and development,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “This will bring investment to Ohio and solidify Ohio’s position as a world-recognized leader in aviation technology.”
In addition, DriveOhio’s SkyVision detection system could potentially assist citizens in the event of natural disasters, significantly enhance the capability of search and rescue teams to find missing persons in time-critical situations and possibly survey damaged infrastructure for Ohio's economic developers.
SkyVision is an important incentive to launch drone commerce operations in Ohio as the first state with cutting-edge technology to test drone capabilitlies.
VyrtX, based in Dayton, is among the first companies committed to expand into Springfield to work with AFRL and the DriveOhio's UAS Center. VyrtX is currently developing technology for the potential transport of organ donations between hospitals for transplant surgeries.
DriveOhio's UAS SkyVision is a mobile unit so air traffic control experts can drive wherever they are needed.
The State of Ohio and AFRL both invested a combined $5 million for the research and development of SkyVision.
Supported by the Ohio Department of Transportation, DriveOhio works to ensure Ohio’s regulatory environment and public policies are conducive to the development of the infrastructure and technologies needed for smart mobility.