Agencies | Governor

Automated Vehicles in Virginia
Go Beyond the Beach

The Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean provide Virginia with one-of-a-kind opportunities to study, relax, or just have fun. Find out how UMS technology will revolutionize safety, conservation, and recreation!

Take a look at the world of tomorrow!

Why Virginia?

Unmanned maritime vehicles (surface and underwater vehicles) routinely perform environmental monitoring in the open ocean and they could easily be adapted for similar use in Chesapeake Bay and other inland waterways. Fleets of underwater vehicles could inexpensively monitor the water quality of Virginia’s waterways, assisting the recreation and crabbing industries, among others. Chemical sensors on autonomous maritime vehicles could verify that potentially dangerous contaminants remain below acceptable thresholds and even locate the source of the contaminant. Patrolling autonomous maritime vehicles would operate regardless of wind and weather and would help the Commonwealth with port and waterway security.

An underwater submersible at the surface of the water.

The eastern Virginia region including Hampton Roads provides a maritime development environment like no other. This region provides, in one place:

  • Universities, small companies, and large firms that are advancing maritime vehicles, autonomy, manufacturing, and servicing.
  • Access to waters ranging from swamps and shallow rivers to a massive bay and wide open ocean.
  • Close proximity to system users for rapid prototyping, testing, and feedback.
  • Close proximity to Washington, DC stakeholders.
  • A family friendly local with low cost of living in vibrant city locations.
  • Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership support for UAS operations for joint maritime/air testing.
  • Close proximity to use cases including defense, Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Chesapeake Bay resource protection needs, and a nascent offshore energy industry.
J.A.C.R.C. logo

The Hampton Roads waters and the Joint Atlantic & Chesapeake Ranges Cooperative (JACRC) is a hub of maritime systems testing from shallow rivers to deep ocean waters and are already attracting test customers from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts. 

Recent activities have included U.S. Navy tests of the Boston Engineering-developed GhostSwimmer unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. The Navy's Autonomous Swarmboats conduct tests at the Reserve Fleet.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) sponsors the annual International RoboBoat Competition in Virginia Beach, VA where student teams race autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs) of their own design through an aquatic obstacle course. The competition provides an opportunity for students to develop skills in system engineering by accomplishing realistic missions with autonomous vehicles in the maritime environment.

Additionally, unmanned aerial, ground, and maritime systems share many technical challenges in common. The proximity of Virginia's research institutions, federal laboratories, and testing capabilities provide the ecosystem where ideas and technology advances can be readily leveraged across these domains.

Learn why VIRGINIA is the place to be for the Maritime UMS industry!