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unmanned systems

May 10, 2018

With a continued commitment to growing San Diego’s reputation as a hub for innovation, the City of San Diego, City of Chula Vista and San Diego Regional EDC announced that San Diego has been selected to participate in a new program by the U.S. Department of Transportation to advance the testing of unmanned aircraft technology, grow the innovation economy and create jobs.

“From wireless technology to human genomes, San Diego is renowned for its innovative spirit and talent that can’t be matched anywhere else,” Mayor Faulconer said. “This designation brings together some of our brightest minds in local government and private industry to develop cutting-edge technologies that are going to take robotic and aerial innovations to the next level.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program” is an opportunity for state, local and tribal governments to partner with private sector innovators, operators and manufacturers to accelerate the development of drone technology. 

“The City of Chula Vista is proud to be a regional partner with the City of San Diego and the industry leaders that support the innovation around Unmanned Aircraft Systems deployment,” said Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. “This unique opportunity will help the City design, develop and test drones to support police officers and fire fighters during emergencies.”  

The program will inform the Department of Transportation about the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in our skies. Key objectives of the program include:

  • Working closely with private sector partners to advance commercial unmanned aircraft system operations and applications for technology
  • Obtaining expedited Federal Aviation Administration approval for airspace authorizations
  • Demonstrating operational solutions that reduce the need for waivers
  • Incorporating community participation for meaningful dialogue for unmanned aircraft systems operations

San Diego’s local program will include projects like flying medical specimens from UC San Diego for expedited results and cost savings, testing food delivery from restaurants to consumers using Uber, enhancing public safety by deploying drones to incident scenes in advance of first responders and testing the integration and communication between driverless cars and unmanned aircraft systems.

“This announcement proves San Diego companies, organizations, academics, government and non-profits are exceptionally well-positioned to advance the adoption into the national airspace,” said Lauree Sahba, Chief Operating Officer for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. “Not only does this program elevate San Diego as a research and development hub, but it also brings enormous potential to our economically diverse region.”

The City of San Diego’s Homeland Security Department was the lead program applicant, with more than 20 regional organizations signing on to support the submission, including EDC. The full list of partners:

  • San Diego Regional EDC
  • Qualcomm
  • City of Chula Vista
  • AT&T
  • Palomar College
  • California Governor’s Military Council
  • California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz)
  • Uber
  • Intel
  • Coleman University
  • GE Ventures
  • UC San Diego Health
  • Port of San Diego
  • Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
  • San Diego Law Enforcement Coordination Center
  • Verdego Aero – Provides urban transportation market with safe, clean and quiet hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that can fly piloted or autonomously.
  • Airmap – Connects airspace authorities with drones to provide safe and efficient drone operations
  • Cape – Offers a cloud-based system for drone telepresence and data management
  • Matternet - Provides drone technology and ground infrastructure to help healthcare systems transport blood and pathology samples between hospital facilities
  • Avitas Systems – A GE Ventures-affiliated company that offers robotic-based autonomous inspections and data analytics focused increasing safety and efficiency
  • Infragard San Diego – FBI-affiliated nonprofit focused on mitigating criminal and terrorist threats to protect regional infrastructure

This collaboration led to San Diego being among only 10 agencies nationwide chosen to participate, including the states of Kansas, Virginia, Alaska and North Dakota and the cities of Reno and Memphis.

“We are eager to work with our partners and the U.S. Department of Transportation to promote nationwide Unmanned Aircraft Systems innovation and integration,” said John Valencia, the City’s Homeland Security Director. “This pioneering program will foster capabilities that will greatly enhance the safety and security of San Diego residents, particularly in the areas of effective Unmanned Aircraft System operations by public safety organizations, and resilient communications during emergencies and in times of crisis.”

This announcement follows a similar designation by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which selected the San Diego region as one of 10 autonomous vehicle testing sites in the nation in 2017. The designated testing sites form a national community that share information and collaborate with the private sector to advance the safe development of unmanned vehicles.

“We are looking forward to helping today’s winners unlock the enormous potential of drone operations, which will create new services and jobs in their local communities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

 

March 18, 2014

Linden Blue

Linden Blue, vice chairman of General Atomics and current chairman and CEO of Spectrum Aeronautical, was honored by the Tesla Foundation this past Saturday with the Nikola Tesla Award for Innovation.

Linden Blue is one of the masters of modern energy and aviation and San Diego is honored to have such an innovative leader in its region. The event program reads, “Linden Blue has always been very interested in technology. That interest has led him from innovating Learjet product improvements while working at Gates Learjet, to overseeing the development of the Lear Fan and the Beech Starship, and, more recently, to develop unmanned aerial vehicles and nuclear reactors.”

The Tesla Foundation’s mission is to create, promote, and protect American jobs and businesses through innovation and commercialization. 

Here’s to you Linden, for your incredible contributions to the aeronautics and energy sectors and for pioneering San Diego’s game-changing innovative culture.

The thing that’s always turned me on in aviation is the innovation part of it. If you could dramatically improve the technology, that interested me. That’s what I want to do.” – Linden Blue

December 31, 2013
The story of the San Diego region is one of collaboration. This means when events take an unexpected turn, we can lean on one another to move the region forward. We have companies - that many would perceive as competitors - working together to secure San Diego’s cyber infrastructure. We have public/private collaborations working to increase the region’s global footprint. We have everyone from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies looking to invest in the region. And we have a strong group of universities that are working together to produce one of the most talented workforces in the nation.
 
 “Good News” is all around us. For the second year in a row, we've compiled a list of some of the greatest moments of the year. As 2013 draws to an end, let’s reflect on the remarkable accomplishments across our entire mega-region, and raise a toast (preferably a San Diego craft beer) to another year of positive headlines.
 
With unwavering appreciation,
Team EDC
 

 

Convention Center expansion is green lighted
In October, a coalition of local union members, business leaders and elected officials showed up at the California Coastal Commission hearing to advocate for a the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center. When the Coastal Commission voted unanimously to move forward with the expansion, they were not only voting for a larger facility with more waterfront access, but also to bring an additional $698 million in economic impact and 6,685 jobs in the region. The expansion of the Convention Center means we can make way for many of the mega-conventions, such as Comic-con, that had their San Diego presence threatened by lack of capacity

 

Unmanned Center of Excellence adds 300 jobs to economy
San Diego has emerged as an Unmanned Systems hub. Recognizing the talent and opportunities present in the region, Defense innovator Northrop Grumman designated San Diego its Unmanned Systems Center of Excellence. The designation meant 300 more jobs at the company's Rancho Bernardo location.

 

 

San Diego Central Library completed 
A great city needs a great library. With the completion of the San Diego Central Library, San Diego residents now have a library they are proud of. The new East Village location boasts local art installations, an expanded career center, a charter school, and more workspace, in in a visually stunning iconic building.

 

 

 


We live in the most inventive region in the U.S. 
Although we've tried not to focus on rankings, this is one we simply can't ignore. In July, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development released its ranking of the world's most inventive cities. Second on the list - right behind Eindoven, Netherlands - was San Diego. The city claims 8.9 patents for every 10,000 residents, thanks to companies such as Qualcomm. 

 

 

 

Cross Border terminal makes Mega-Region more accessible 
As the U.S. and Mexican governments launch a new initiative to build stronger business ties across the border, they are looking at San Diego's Cali Baja Bi-national Mega-Region as a model for finding ways that industry clusters in both countries can work together. Many examples show the strength of the mega-region, but it's the new cross border terminal that has grabbed headlines recently. Border infrastructure has been improving, and the new cross border terminal will allow travelers from San Diego and Tijuana to hop on flights out of the neighboring cities. 

 

 

San Diego Airport's Green Build takes off
Improvements at the airport have finally landed. The San Diego International Airport's Green Build expansion culminated in August ahead of schedule and under budget. The stunning new new terminal features 10 new gates, pet-friendly amenities, extensive public art displays and is infused with local dining favorites so travelers can get a taste of San Diego while they wait. 

 

 

 

Pivot to the Pacific sends resources to San Diego
The United States defense strategy has deemed that a Pivot to the Pacific, aligning defense resources with the Pacific Rim, is a crucial foreign policy strategy. Because of San Diego's location and existing military footprint, this meant the region was well-positioned, despite sequestration, to gain valuable resources. The USS Reagan and its 2,500 person crew returned to San Diego after a year in maintenance. The USS Vinson, and its 6,000 plus crew, also returned to its port in San Diego. According the SDMAC Military Economic Impact Study, the two aircraft carriers home ported here will each add about $500 million to the economy.

 

 

 

Kickstarter backed films puts San Diego on Hollywood's radar
San Diego may never be Hollywood (we're fine with owning technology and innovation), but a few features have put the region on the map. The year started with 'Inocente', a story about a homeless San Diego teen, becoming the first Kickstarter backed movie to win an Oscar. Fans turned to Kickstarter again to fund a film version of 'Veronica Mars,' a series that chronicles the life of a teenage San Diego detective. The trailer premiered at Comic-con in July. Although San Diego's favorite fictional news team may not have been backed by Kickstarter, with the release of Anchorman 2, the phrase "Stay Classy, San Diego" worked its way back into lexicon this year.

 

 

 

Intellect leads innovation economy
San Diego's top tier universities are essential for priming a talented workforce that helps push the economy forward. When President Obama announced his BRAIN initiative in April, UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. was invited to Washington. Given its strong cognitive sciences program, the university - which raked in more than $1 billion in research funding this past year - will be one of the academic institutions leading the charge. Cal State San Marcos welcomed its biggest class and held true to its 'vet' friendly reputation.  San Diego State University found itself among the nation's highest ranked universities in terms of affordability and ROI, which may be one of the reasons it recently announced a record number of applicants for 2014. Point Loma Nazarene has been identified as one of the best value private colleges in the U.S. University of San Diego's part time MBA programs broke the Top 20 on BusinessWeek's list. Online education pioneer Ashford University partnered with Forbes to create cutting-edge materials for its Forbes School of Business. National University, a leader in policy research, has partnered with EDC and other regional organizations on studies to quantify the sports and active lifestyle and cybersecurity clusters. 

Construction on desalination project begins

Construction on the largest desalination plant in the western hemisphere began in early 2013. The construction of the plant will provide more than 2,300 jobs and will sustain 575 jobs when it is completed in 2016. Not only does the Carlsbad facility employ ground-breaking local technologies, but it also promises to transform about 50 million gallons of seawater into drinking water each day, which will meet 7 to 10 percent of San Diego’s water needs.

 

 

 

Brookings lays framework for global competitiveness strategy
Last fall, San Diego was selected as one of eight U.S. cities to participate in the Brookings Metropolitan Exchange Initiative, a project that helps regions implement customized export plans. In May, a collaborative made up of representatives from the Port of San Diego, San Diego Regional Airport Authority, UC San Diego, JP Morgan Chase and others came together to release a market assessment, the first phase in delivering a plan. Since then, working groups have been addressing infrastructure, talent, small and medium-sized enterprises, and market diversity to come up with a plan to boost the region's exports. The collaborative will release the final export plan - which will help with the region's overall global competitiveness strategy - in early 2014.

Craft Beer powers regional economy
Look out Munich, we're nipping at your heels. The San Diego region, which is home to more than 70 craft breweries, is commanding a growing percent of the nation's craft beer production. The region embraced its craft beer culture, with places like the Airport integrating beer into in the region's identity. From Men's Journal to The New York Times, people worldwide are also catching wind of breweries such as Stone, Ballast Point, Karl Strauss. This year, the industry hosted its first "SD Craft Beer Hospitality and Tourism Summit" to talk about how San Diego can propel its image as a premier craft beer destination forward. 

 

 

October 21, 2013

Illustrating some of the dynamic uses for unmanned system.

Illustrating some of the dynamic uses for unmanned system. Clockwise from top left: Drone used for newspaper delivery (The Atlantic), prepping a wildfire- fighting drone for launch (The New York Times), simulation of a lifeguard/lifesaving drone (AUVSI), agricultural drone used for weed control (3dRobotics/ Diydrones.com) 

If you stopped 100 people on the street and asked them to name a technology in the past 20 years that has changed the world, it’s safe to assume that the internet would be a top choice. Yet if you ask people about the origins of the internet, many would have to pause for a second to think. In the 1950s, the internet was developed as a tool for military communication. It wasn’t until the mid-90s that the internet was adopted and commercialized for broader use. 
 
San Diego is used to seeing military innovations adopted for commercial use. In fact, many of the region’s largest and most well-known companies – including Qualcomm – were born out of military innovation. 
 
Now, a new technology is being developed for commercial use and San Diego, with its strong military history, trained talent, and diverse terrain, has a decent chance of playing a big role in something that has already began to revolutionize the world. 
 
Unmanned Systems – or drones as they’re often called – have uses ranging from agricultural production to disaster monitoring and wildfire fighting.  
 
A jobs generator 
 
Recognizing the importance of unmanned systems, the FAA has issued a call to establish six test sites across the country, with a goal of working to integrate this technology safely into our airspace.  A recent study from the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International found that California was poised to gain 18,161 jobs if they created a test site- more than any other U.S. state. This does not even take into account the impact of non-aerial unmanned systems for marine and farming use, which will help create even more jobs. The industry would pump approximately $90 billion into the economy in the next decade, generating an estimated $70 million in tax revenue. 
 
In partnership with San Diego Military Advisory Council, EDC and other San Diego partners joined the CAL UAS portal. The proposed testing site would start at the U.S./Mexico border and run from Bridgeport to the North and to the Arizona/Nevada border to the East. The regulations do not allow testing within a 30-mile radius of installations including Lindbergh Field and McClellan-Palomar Airport, meaning most of San Diego’s metro airspace will not be included in testing ranges.
 
San Diego is at a significant advantage. Not only do we have one of the most diverse testing sites in the U.S., but we also have a strong private sector that would help support a testing site. Companies such as 3Drobotics, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics and 5d robotics provide a well-qualified talent pool to help the sector thrive. 
 
Maybe 10 years from now, if we ask people about a technology that has profoundly impacted society, unmanned systems will float to the top of the list. Our hope is that when it does, San Diego is thought of as a leader in this field.
 

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March 27, 2013

San Diego Regional EDC and a number of partners from industry organizations and private companies are working to attain status as a center of excellence (COE) for unmanned systems. San Diego is already well known for developing and manufacturing unmanned autonomous systems (UAS). The industry supports more than 7,000 jobs and accounts for more than 12 percent of all Department of Defense contracting activities in San Diego County, according to an industry report prepared by the San Diego North Chamber of Commerce. The report also concluded that the industry has the potential to double its economic impact over the next seven years. Recently, Northrop Grumman announced that the company would designate its Rancho Bernardo facility as their center of excellence for UAS development. The move is expected to bring an additional 300 jobs to the San Diego region.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued the request for information. They intend to designate six Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) test sites across the Continental United States in order to integrate UAS into national airspace.

The geographic area of the proposed site encompasses a vast area of land extending from Edwards Air Force Base and the Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake south to the Mexican border and east to the Arizona border. The regional coalition includes San Diego Military Advisory Council, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems, Imperial Valley EDC, County of Imperial, Holtville Airport in Imperial County, and defense contractors including General Atomics, Cubic, Epsilon Systems and Northrop Grumman. This group joined forces with the California Unmanned Air Systems Portal, based in Indian Wells in Riverside County, which enabled the proposal to include such a large area. The proposed test range region is geographically diverse, including airspace over mountain ranges, high and low desert, and the ocean.

About 40 applications have been submitted seeking to become one of the six test sites.