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UC To Help Ohio Shape Drone Investment Plans

Andrew Higley/UC Creative
UC graduate Austin Wessels tests a drone on university grounds. UC is helping ODOT study the economics of drone infrastructure development along I-71.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has hired University of Cincinnati researchers and two consulting firms to study the economic impact of investing in technology to spur drone testing and deployment. The area of interest is along I-71 from Cincinnati to Cleveland.

What ODOT is interested in ranges from autonomous cargo aircraft to medevac organ transplant delivery to air taxis and everything in between. Creating and maintaining urban and regional air mobility and unmanned air traffic management systems connecting Ohio's biggest cities could be profitable.

UC will help Crown Consulting, Inc, and NEXA Capital Partners, according to aUC news release.

"This study is one of the first of its kind in the United States and will be watched across the country," says Kelly Cohen, head of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics in UC's College of Engineering and Applied Science. "Our UC UAV Team is extremely excited to participate in this important work." 

Cohen says ODOT is a national leader in investing in innovation to spur new businesses in the improvement of public safety and transportation.

UC says this project will support ODOT's DriveOhio initiative, which WVXU has reported on.

The news release says UC will study these technologies for use in both urban and rural areas to help chart a path toward "a robut environmentally friendly transportation mode and will provide guidance for Ohio's future investments and research in these technologies."

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.