Nevada Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center at the University of Nevada, Reno
The University of Nevada, Reno was awarded $3 million from the Knowledge Fund in 2013 to create the Nevada Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center (NAASIC). The Center focuses on creating unique industry-university partnerships (driven by industry needs and regional and national priorities) that lead to the commercialization of technologies in autonomous systems. These autonomous systems will include industrial robots, advanced manufacturing systems and Unmanned Automated Systems (UAS), which include Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), driver-less road vehicles and underwater robots.
Nevada has unmatched assets in place that make it a global leader for autonomous systems, particularly the UAVs industry, which includes advanced manufacturing and high-tech companies. Nevada’s assets include unique airspace for testing and general aviation with extremely low-density (both aircraft and population) to extremely high-density in certain areas. Development of UAV applications requires several major skill groups, including design and fabrication, piloting, data acquisition and large-scale data processing. NAASIC will address all of the major skill groups needed to establish UAVs as a major contributor to Nevada’s economy. In this way, NAASIC will enhance the productivity and competitive position of Nevada for years to come.
NAASIC will solve emerging complex problems in the development, application, and commercialization of autonomous systems through unique industry-university partnerships, innovation, cooperative research and entrepreneurship. In carrying out this mission, NAASIC is committed to providing educational opportunities to the university’s uniquely diverse student body through:
- a newly created UAS Minor offered by the College of Engineering;
- NAASIC interns, affiliated undergraduate and graduate fellows and faculty; and
- employees of industry partners.
NAASIC’s short-term objective is to build capacity over a period of three years by:
- hiring key personnel to execute center-related functions that promote industry-driven research and development;
- developing and implementing center-related education (including K-12 outreach) and training programs that support the needs of the private sector;
- utilizing current facilities to advance local industry; and
- investing in new facilities or equipment that can benefit Nevada industry to advance statewide economic development.
The long-term objective is to create a leading center for technology innovation in advanced autonomous systems in the United States and abroad -- one that is sustainable and that will spur research, innovation and commercialization, thereby advancing innovation-based economic development in Nevada. This will be accomplished by pursuing funding from industry partners and federal support for national centers and large-scale innovation initiatives.
Establishing NAASIC is very timely given Nevada’s focus on UAVs and advanced manufacturing. NAASIC will spur research, innovation and commercialization, and advance Innovation-Based Economic Development in Nevada.