Newlab News
November 14, 2023

Coalition of Partners Request Expressions of Interest for Advanced Aerial Innovation Region

Newlab and partners will launch a multi-million dollar Challenge that will leverage this first-of-a-kind urban unmanned aerial systems proving zone.
Strategic partner and Newlab member startup Airspace Link's drone - the Google Maps for the sky

Michigan Central and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) have launched Detroit’s Advanced Aerial Innovation Region - a first-of-a-kind UAS proving zone enabling persistent flight across key use cases including cross-board routes. If you are interested in working with us in the Advanced Aerial Innovation Region, register your interest here.

About the Advanced Aerial Innovation Region

Covering a 3-mile radius around Michigan Central, the two-year project will provide open, shared infrastructure and services that enable commercial drone development while ensuring safety in the air and on the ground. Participating drone operators will have access to concept and operational support. The initiative will propel solutions focused on addressing accessibility, safety, tech equity and regulatory challenges by testing potential commercial drone uses – ranging from delivery of medical supplies, consumer goods and manufacturing materials to infrastructure inspection. Initial usage pilots will launch early next year.

Michigan Central will provide resources for foundational infrastructure, community engagement and skills training. MDOT will manage the network and define operating parameters, as well as data and safety protocols. Flight data from all pilots will feed the initiative’s overarching goal to drive drone operations beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). Gaining Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) BVLOS approval would reduce existing barriers to commercial development and allow operators to fly drones without maintaining visual sightlines, opening the door for longer-range delivery and a variety of new potential uses in Southeast Michigan.

Newlab's Role And How to Use the Advanced Aerial Innovation Region

In Q1, Newlab, in partnership with Michigan Central, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME) and Airspace Link, will launch a multi-million dollar Challenge that will leverage our first-of-a-kind urban infrastructure to catalyze high-impact drone activity in Detroit. We are actively seeking insights and use cases from industry and startups to help shape this initiative.

Please register interest if you are one of the following entities:

  • Corporate partner
  • Government/municipal partner
  • UAS/Drone operator
  • UAS/Drone manufacturer
  • Startup that utilizes Drones

Register to work and pilot in this groundbreaking innovation zone. 

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