AUVSI-NE, MassDevelopment, MassTLC, robotics

MassTLC, MassDevelopment, AUVSI-NE Sign Agreement to Pursue New Robotic Test Site

week a group of leading public and private sector organizations descended upon the
town of Devens,
the former military base,
with an eye towards the future, and towards solidifying Massachusetts’ position
at the forefront of the robotics revolution. The group included senior leaders
from MassDevelopment, the state’s
finance and development agency, the Mass
Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC)
, the state’s largest technology
association and organizer of the Mass
Robotics Cluster
, the Association for
Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI-NE)
, the leading international
organization for unmanned systems and robotics, the MITRE Corporation, Draper Laboratory, and others from the
robotics community.
Top on
the agenda was the creation of a controlled robotic test facility and Inter-Operability
Playground with ground, air, water, residential, rural, indoor, and outdoor
testing environments. Once created the facility would be a unique feature of
the Massachusetts robotics landscape and would complement an existing regional
testing infrastructure that includes the New
England Research and Development (NERVE) Center
, one of just three such NIST
standard test facilities in the nation, operating out of UMass Lowell, and the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research (NUAIR) Alliance, one of only six such FAA designated test sites in the
nation, with operations at Joint Base Cape Cod.
to a MassTLC report on The
Massachusetts Robotics Revolution
, Massachusetts is home to perhaps the
most advanced robotics cluster in the nation. At the heart of this cluster are
35 robotics focused research and development programs across ten institutions
in the state. Another eight institutions across New England have programs in
nearby states. With land, air, sea, mobile, stationary, autonomous, health,
marine, agriculture, logistics, and more, the Massachusetts cluster is pushing
the boundaries of intelligent automation in many fields.
as a robotics “Inter-Operability Playground” for supporting the multiple
systems that must communicate and coexists in the future, the proposed facility
would include lab facilities, indoor and outdoor controlled test space, a
command and control center, and future demonstration area.  The facility would provide individual labs
for long-term use and/or temporary projects, with access to necessary test
equipment, data archiving, hardware fabrication and repair assistance.  Test areas would also include range sensors
and data collection. Once platforms are “certified” as safe, the proposal
envisions the possibility of the community of Devens becoming a public
demonstration site for commercial applications.
of the site include:  Safety, Control and
Situational Awareness, Instrumentation and Recording (analysis), and
Education.  In the spirit of public-private
sector collaboration, and in recognition of the economic development value of
robotics and unmanned systems in MA/New England, the three sponsoring
organizations:  AUVSI-NE, MassTLC and
MassDevelopment signed a Memorandum of Understanding signifying their
commitment to pursue this effort and promote the concept with their respective
memberships and organizations.

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