Aurora to establish drone training in SW Virginia

Aurora Flight Sciences has joined a network of businesses, organizations and institutions dedicated to enhancing economic prosperity in the Appalachian region, with the establishment of a drone training program at Mountain Empire Community College (MECC), the company said.

The company has partnered with Mountain Empire Community College (MECC) to develop an aerial drone geo-spatial mapping and surveyors course under the newly funded project. These courses will train students, including former coal industry workers, to operate drones and drone sensors to provide commercial and government services, including geospatial surveys, close-up inspections of fixed structures and mapping.

Federal investments funded through the Obama administration´s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative have been channeled to the area to stimulate economic growth and opportunity in communities that have relied on the coal industry for economic stability.

One of the Virginia POWER grants was awarded to the Industrial Development Authority in Wise County, which oversees the Virginia Emerging Drone Industry Cluster Project. This effort falls under a mission by the Virginia Unmanned Systems Commission to boost the state´s unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry while simultaneously establishing Wise County as a research, development, training and operational hub for UAS.

Aurora Flight Sciences is a technology company that strives to create smarter aircraft through the development of versatile and intuitive autonomous systems.