CHULA VISTA IS LAUNCH PAD FOR AV AND DRONE RESEARCHERS
Chula Vista officials are including researchers in ongoing work to boost the city’s growing Smart City innovation economy with the announcement of a creative business solicitation. The city has issued a Request for Expressions of Interest highlighting the numerous city-owned facilities available to businesses and organizations working on autonomous vehicles (AV) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS), more commonly known as drones. The solicitation invites the private sector to propose projects, partnerships and pilot programs using these facilities.
“Chula Vista is the only city in the nation with federal recognition for both AV and UAS testing and validation in a real-world environment,” said Economic Development Director Eric Crockett. “We offer a highly educated workforce and a city staff that is experienced in working with industry to bring innovative projects to life. We have built a ‘collaboratory’ in which businesses can test, deploy and refine their technologies and we are excited to keep growing via public/private partnerships and innovative ventures.”
Available facilities include the undeveloped 375-acre university site where drone startups have already completed testing for more than a year. For autonomous vehicle firms, the city is offering 17,000 square feet of industrial space for vehicle maintenance including crane and lifts. Chula Vista is the only city in the United States with federal pilots for both AV and UAS industries, offering a collaborative ecosystem for engagement on both platforms of the future as testing continues.
Researchers can be provided access to the city’s Traffic Management Center which currently communicates to 250 of the city’s 272 traffic signals. The city also is upgrading dozens of traffic intersections with advanced control systems that can integrate with AVs. This real-time access to emerging data and processes is invaluable as technology startups and established businesses grow their AV and UAS capabilities.
Respondents also may be pre-qualified to co-author grant applications with the city improving the likelihood of securing grant funding for projects in Chula Vista.
The Request for Expressions of Interest complements the city’s existing participation in the San Diego Regional Proving Grounds for autonomous vehicles and the Federal Aviation Administration-affiliated UAS Integrated Pilot Program. Both programs give participants streamlined and expedited permitting processes as well as priority access to facilities.
Other Chula Vista groundbreaking developments – like the $1 billion, 535-acre Bayfront Master Plan and construction and the Millenia campus – also will provide opportunities for Smart City deployments.
“We’ve kept this solicitation as open-ended as possible because we want to encourage industry responses to be creative and innovative,” Crockett said.
While responses to the solicitation will be accepted on a rolling basis, proposers are encouraged to respond promptly to ensure the availability of preferred locations. Visit the Smart City page for more information.