Virginia drone facility expands to North Carolina airport

Virginia-based drone research and testing facility Xelevate Unmanned Systems Center of Excellence, that opened last year, will expand its operations to Washington, North Carolina, in developing a drone-smart airport and a drone training school.

The Washington-Warren Airport Authority recently received $20 million in state funding for economic development and infrastructure improvements to modernize the airport.

Xelevate said it believes its operations there will be among the first of its kind on the East Coast. It features drone-friendly specifications, including 600 acres of uncontrolled airspace, two runways exceeding 5,000 feet, and proximity to water and government installations.

As part of the partnership, the Washington-Warren Airport and Xelevate will build the Southern-Atlantic Drone Workforce and Data Fusion Center, with indoor flight facilities, classrooms for training, STEM education, job fairs, demonstrations and conferences.

“Drones are solving increasingly complex issues, completing activities at a fraction of the time and cost, saving human lives and serving as a force multiplier for good,” said Xelevate president and co-founder Marcy Eisenberg. “This is an incredible opportunity for the Washington community, its organizations, entities wanting to use emerging technology, and people from all walks of life to participate and find purpose in this field.”

Xelevate is headquartered in Leesburg.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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