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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

$1.5 Million Grant Will Help Launch Commonwealth Center of Innovation for Autonomous Systems

By Irvin B. Harrell

Old Dominion University, in a research collaboration with Virginia Tech, received a $1.5 million grant from the Virginia Research Investment Fund to help launch the Commonwealth Center of Innovation for Autonomous Systems.

"This is a three-year grant that aims to co-fund two to three projects yearly whose goal is to develop entrepreneurship opportunities in the region," said Yiannis Papelis, a research professor with ODU's Virginia Modeling, Analysis & Simulation Center.

"The idea is that ODU and Virginia Tech professors will partner with industry to leverage their expertise and develop new products or assist a company with their existing product line."

ODU's first project will be the development of a robot capable of providing children with isolating illnesses the opportunity to communicate with others and gain experiences beyond their hospital room walls.

Virginia Tech's project will involve the use of Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) - a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure distances - for mapping underwater quality levels.

"Virginia's colleges and universities enjoy a strong record of cutting-edge research, and we are proud to support the development of new technologies with promising commercial prospects, especially in the area of unmanned autonomous systems," Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement.

"Innovative projects and public-private partnerships like these will help bolster the commonwealth's leading position in the unmanned autonomous systems industry, advance the application of these technologies and reinforce our continued work to expand and diversify the commonwealth's economy."

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