The Californian city wants to act as a launchpad for drone and AV innovation.
The City of Chula Vista is inviting the private sector to propose projects, partnerships and pilot programmes to test drones and autonomous vehicles (AVs).
The city has issued a Request for Expressions of Interest highlighting the numerous city-owned facilities available to businesses and organisations working on autonomous vehicles (AV) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones.
“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 start-ups 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 cranes and lifts.
For autonomous vehicle firms, the city is offering 17,000 square feet of industrial space for vehicle maintenance, including cranes and lifts.
Researchers will have access to the city’s Traffic Management Center which currently communicates with 250 of the city’s 272 traffic signals. The city is also 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,” a statement from the City of Chula Visa said.
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.
“We’ve kept this solicitation as open-ended as possible because we want to encourage industry responses to be creative and innovative,” Crockett said.
"We’ve kept this solicitation as open-ended as possible because we want to encourage industry responses to be creative and innovative."
Chula Vista is already participating in the San Diego Regional Proving Grounds for autonomous vehicles and the Federal Aviation Administration-affiliated UAS Integrated Pilot Program. Both programmes give participants streamlined and expedited permitting processes as well as priority access to facilities.