Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Aeronyde Corporation, an industry leader in integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) into a safe and secure full-service commercial drone system, will invest $350,000 to establish a new drone operations command and control center in the City of Covington. Virginia successfully competed with California and Florida for the project, which will create 25 new jobs.
“Aeronyde Corporation’s new facility in the City of Covington is a welcome addition to the Roanoke region’s growing unmanned systems industry, which continues to create high-quality, 21st-century job opportunities for Virginia citizens,” said Governor Northam. “Our Commonwealth has the second-highest concentration of technology workers in the country and close proximity to major defense contractors in Washington, D.C. We are thrilled that Aeronyde has chosen Virginia as its launchpad for future innovation and have great confidence that the company will thrive in our Commonwealth.”
Headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, Aeronyde Corporation is an aerial informatics solutions provider focused on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)-based data acquisition and machine learning analysis technologies. The company provides aerial informatics to the energy, infrastructure, agriculture and forestry, and public safety industries using a drone nesting system. Aeronyde is one of only 14 companies in the United States approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC). The company was also one of five North American Regional Finalists for the IBM Call for Code 2019 Global Challenge, a worldwide developer competition that seeks technology solutions for natural disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.
“Aeronyde Corporation is at the forefront of innovation in aerial informatics and drone technology, and the company’s new Fleet Operating Center in the City of Covington is an exciting step forward for the Commonwealth’s unmanned systems industry,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “From the Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone Initiative to the GO Virginia-funded drone operations career program at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, our local, regional, and state partners have worked collaboratively with companies like Aeronyde to prepare the region’s workforce for the careers of the future.”
“Aeronyde is proud to partner with the Commonwealth of Virginia in leading innovation and groundbreaking workforce programs that support rural economic development,” said Edgar Munoz, CEO of Aeronyde. “The pipeline of new-skilled workers will empower Aeronyde’s commercial drone fleet operations to meet the revolutionary emerging need for global information flows created by unmanned systems. With support from initiatives like the Virginia Jobs Investment Program and the VITA Innovation Program, Virginia provides the infrastructure and resources to lead in this emerging market.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with the City of Covington and the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation (AHEDC) to secure the project for Virginia and will support Aeronyde’s job creation through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). VJIP provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs in order to support employee recruitment and training activities. As a business incentive supporting economic development, VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies. VJIP is state-funded, demonstrating Virginia’s commitment to enhancing job opportunities for citizens.
“The City of Covington is excited to welcome Aeronyde Corporation to its Drone Zone facility,” said Mayor Thomas Sibold, Jr. “We look forward to the added value and civic innovations yet to be realized through the utilization of new and emerging technologies like those of Aeronyde.”
“This is great news for Covington, the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation, and the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Senator Creigh Deeds. “When we are given the opportunity to compete for jobs, we win because the quality of life in this region cannot be beat. Congratulations to all for working to bring these high-tech, 21st-century jobs to the City of Covington, and thank you to Aeronyde for choosing our community.”
“Today’s announcement is a testament to Aeronyde’s vision and the business-friendly environment of Virginia,” said Delegate Terry Austin. “Aeronyde is a leading-edge technology company that will thrive in the City of Covington thanks to partnerships with organizations such as the AHEDC and VEDP, access to broadband, and a talent pipeline that the Commonwealth continues to cultivate with great success.”