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A Collaborative International Autonomous Team

Las Vegas, Nevada, April 1, 2016

The Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) and the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) continued efforts to advance the autonomous systems industry by executing a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Korean Civil UAS Research Consortium (K-CURC).

The agreement was recently executed at the NIAS headquarters in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada.  Dr. Paul Oh, Lincy Professor of Unmanned Aerial Systems at UNLV College of Engineering was instrumental in identifying the opportunity to GOED and NIAS.  Dr. Oh, world-renowned robotics and autonomous systems expert introduced NIAS to his colleagues, including Dr. David Hyunchul Shim, Director, C-FRIEND Field Robotics Center and Professor, Dept. of Aerospace Engineering at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST).

South Korea plans to integrate UAS into their national airspace much in the same way as the U.S. plans.  Dr. Shim is leading K-CURC’s integration efforts as in addition to developing a UAS test site.   “K-CURC was looking for a partner in the U.S. with strong ties to a university system, expertise in autonomous systems, and access to advanced UAS test sites,” said Dr. Oh.  “UNLV, the State of Nevada, and NIAS can provide all of this and more.  UNLV has numerous UAS and robotics programs where we can collaborate.  Through NIAS, we have access to a diverse test site with multiple ranges” he said.  NIAS manages the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site and facilitates the growth of the UAS Industry in the State of Nevada.  “NIAS is focused on flying safely, opening up air space and creating new business opportunities.  By collaborating with K-CURC and working closely with Dr. Oh and UNLV we can really advance and enhance the Nevada UAS Industry on a global front,” said Dr. Chris Walach, the NIAS Director of Operations for Unmanned Aviation.

Areas of collaboration include advanced research in the fields of UAS traffic management, sense and avoid, command and control, communication, and the current “holy grail” of UAS -  Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight.  K-CURC will observe how the FAA plans to integrate UAS into the National Airspace.  “The State of Nevada, GOED and NIAS are in a unique position and perfectly aligned to collaborate with K-CURC.  We are very excited about this opportunity,” said Tom Wilczek, Industry Specialist for the Nevada Aerospace and Defense Industry for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

There are many ways that K-CURC and NIAS will mutually benefit each other’s respective UAS Industry.  These include facilitating and implementing opportunities for a long-term collaborative relationship to advance the export development, investment attraction, solution oriented research, commercialization and global competitiveness of advanced Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) and Unmanned Vehicle Systems (UVS) technologies.

About the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) -  NIAS is a non-profit organization founded and sponsored by the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development.  NIAS advances the Nevada Autonomous Systems Industry through business teaming, partnerships, research and development, and educational awareness.

Media Contact:

Mark Barker
Director of Business Development
Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS)
On Behalf of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development
400 South, 4th Street, Suite 500
Las Vegas, Nevada  89101
Office: 702-793-4218