Georgia Centers of Innovation Aerospace

The Center of Innovation for Aerospace provides the technical industry expertise, collaborative research and partnerships to help the state's aerospace industry connect, compete and grow. The Center advances recognition of Georgia’s strength in the global aerospace industry, and contributes to the entrepreneurial and educational ecosystems required for its continued growth. Home to more than 800 aerospace companies and total workforce of 99,000, the state benefits from a diverse industry across the sectors of manufacturing, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), and transportation. Home to powerhouses Gulfstream Aerospace, Delta Air Lines, and Lockheed Martin, aerospace products are the number one export from the state of Georgia at $8.44 billion.


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3 Key Takeaways From the AUVSI Unmanned Conference

The AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) Unmanned Systems 2015 Conference was held at the World Congress Center in Atlanta last week. Our Center of Innovation for Aerospace team was on hand as a part of the Unmanned Systems of Georgia exhibit with partners Georgia Tech, Georgia Tech Research Institute and the University of Georgia. Now that the conference is over, the team offers their three key takeaways as Georgia continues to cement its status as the go-to state for unmanned systems.


1) We are on the cusp of a new commercial era.


In the past few months, the FAA has begun issuing Section 333 exemptions to companies across the nation to commercially fly unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Those companies, including Georgia companies VSG Unmanned, Phoenix Unmanned, and Solusia Air are using these vehicles for film, precision farming and infrastructure inspection. What once was seen as mainly a defense market is now emerging into a true commercial market.

This was evident at the conference, which featured a well balanced mix of defense and commercial exhibitors. Georgia companies such as Guided Systems Technologies, Area-I, VSG-Unmanned and Phoenix Unmanned showcased their unmanned systems and discussed their plans for the UAS market at the AUVSI event itself and at other events during the conference.


2) Georgia offers a very welcoming business environment.


As customers and suppliers posed questions and asked for assistance, it was very apparent that Georgia’s business environment is optimal to anyone looking to start a UAS company or move one. Whether it’s the need to access superior research through the university partners in the state, or being within close proximity to future customers, Georgia is a natural fit. The Center of Innovation for Aerospace makes invaluable connections between UAS companies, Georgia universities, and government organizations through the Georgia UAS Working Group which meets quarterly.

On Tuesday night of the conference, our team hosted select guests at the “Georgia Unmanned Systems Reception” at the Metro Atlanta Chamber where further connections and collaborations were made among local, national and international UAS companies. Groups from the U.S., Denmark, France and England networked with our state’s top unmanned companies and discussed potential business opportunities and partnerships.


3) Georgia’s reputation as a UAS state flourished.

Steve at AUVSI Reception

A number of companies expressed interest in developing operations here, and our team’s goal was to show that Georgia not only has a large network of customers and infrastructure, but also has a strong technology and innovation base throughout the state.

Whether it’s the film industry, infrastructure inspection, agriculture, or other industries with uses for UAS, Georgia has a number of customers who make the UAS business in the state very viable.

“We were able to show visitors that Georgia is a good place for UAS.” –Steve Justice, director of the Center of Innovation for Aerospace.


Upcoming UAS Events:

June 9- COI Aerospace Director Steve Justice will be the keynote speaker at the Hall, Booth & Smith sponsored Symposium “Writing the Rules of the Game” discussing the integration of UAS/drone technology in Georgia’s key industries. The event is open to the public at no charge. For more information visit

June 12- The Georgia UAS Working Group meets from 9am-12pm in Atlanta. Contact UAS WG Chair Chad Dennis for more information ([email protected]).

June 25- The Atlanta Aero Club June luncheon program is a UAS panel discussion featuring the FAA, CNN, Nexutech and Phoenix Air. For more details, see the ‘Events’ section of our website here.


For more information on the Center of Innovation for Aerospace and their UAS efforts, visit their website at

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For more information on Georgia’s public-private business partnerships, contact the Georgia Department of Economic Development at 404.962.4000.

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