SWVA awarded $300,000 to expand drone industry

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is awarding a $300,000 grant to promote commercial drone use in Southwest Virginia. 

Wise County Court Clerk Jack Kennedy teamed up with Mountain Empire Community College to start the Virginia Drone Innovation Project two years ago hoping to grow the drone industry and job economy in Wise County. Professor Fred Coeburn now teaches an introductory course on unmanned aircrafts.

Students each build a drone by hand, program it, and eventually fly it. Coeburn presented an entire program on drones to the Virginia Community College Board. The program will include 4 courses and is available to community college students across the state beginning this semester.

Kennedy is working with private drone companies across the world, directing them to Southwest Virginia's budding commercial drone industry.

In total, Kennedy says the the Virginia Drone Project has been awarded more than $2.2 million in grants.



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