The North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) has awarded AeroX a $5 million grant to design and develop an urban advanced air mobility system in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, North Carolina.

Grant funds will flow to AeroX through the North Carolina Department of Transportation Division of Aviation, which administers state and federal aviation grant funding for the state and has been a national leader in demonstrating and enabling government and commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, or drones).

The NCGA grant will allow AeroX to take a major step forward toward building the air traffic management system that will allow unmanned and manned aircraft to fly safely in the low-altitude air space (below 400 feet) in which UAS operate.

Michael Baughan, AeroX board member and chair of the AeroX Advisory Committee, said: “Once again, North Carolina policymakers have taken the bold move to invest in aviation’s next frontier.

“|These funds will help us begin building the infrastructure required to usher in this new era of aviation, supporting existing industries and opening up whole new areas of the economy.”

AeroX is a non-profit organisation of business, government and community partners focused on facilitating the safe and efficient commercialisation of these UAS technologies in Forsyth County.

It aims to capitalise on North Carolina’s prominence as a UAS innovation leader by creating a national model ecosystem for advanced air mobility (AAM), a testbed for pioneering companies seeking to leverage these emerging technologies to grow their companies.

Forsyth County is well positioned to achieve this goal. Routine commercial drone deliveries are already under way in the county by UPS Flight Forward, which is delivering medical packages across the Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center campus.

Novant Health, which is conducting AAM operations in North Carolina, provides guidance as a member of the AeroX board. Smith Reynolds Airport is a Federal Aviation Administration-designated national airport ideal for testing AAM solutions. Local business support organisations are available to provide technical assistance to help companies in the sector startup and grow.

Visit ncaerox.com for more information.