Praxis partnered plan to convert Cashman Center into drone testing site earns national honors

Praxis Aerospace Concepts Incorporated (PACInc) is pleased to announce a proposal to turn Cashman Center into a hub for drone and technology research won first prize Wednesday in a federally sponsored contest aimed at community revitalization.

The plan, which would involve redesigning and enlarging the convention center and its grounds to turn it into a research center, earned $500,000 in federal grant money through the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Challenge implemented in 2011. Las Vegas was one of three cities selected through a national competition for the grant funding, along with Greensboro, N.C., and Hartford, Conn.

The winning team — project developers Building a Better Las Vegas — was awarded the prize at Wednesday’s Las Vegas City Council meeting. Competing under the name, the developers topped a field of six finalists and 17 semifinalists. Other proposals included a Latin cultural center and a boxing hall of fame.

Build a Better Las Vegas’ plan calls for establishing a fly zone for drone testing, a canopied area that would cover what is now the baseball field at the 31-acre complex, as well as new spaces for offices and a new corridor that would include the existing Neon Museum, a space and science museum and relocation of the natural history museum. Cashman would become the Unmanned Aerial Robotics Resource Center under the proposal.


PACI provides the Building A Better Las Vegas with technical management of the UARRC and consulting in the field of unmanned aircraft systems design.

Transforming Cashman would cost $150 million and would take 20 years of construction in multiple phases, Russell said. The city now has ownership of the proposal, and federal economic development funds are available to help pay the costs of construction should city officials move forward on it. Build a Better Las Vegas is under no obligation in how to spend its prize money.

Read more about it from the Las Vegas Sun article here.

Las Vegas Sun

Locally owned and independent since 1950; Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Public Servicebest news website in the nation & DuPont Award for broadcast journalism.

FAA Allows Test Sites to Fly UAS Below 200 Feet

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released new regulations for flying Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Under the new broad area Certificate of Authorization (COA), small UAS weighing less than 55 lbs. can be flown up to 200 feet above ground level nearly anywhere in the country. The flights must be conducted in partnership with one of the seven FAA test sites during daylight and maintain visual line of sight with a pilot.

UAS companies are still required to partner with a test site and each test site will conduct safety and airworthiness checks on the UAS being flown. However, the flight locations are not restricted to the test site’s regional footprint.

Read more about the impact of the FAA’s newest COA on the UASTS here

Metal Rebel Tests Its Mettle

UNLV is among 25 of the world’s best robotics teams competing in the 2015 U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Challenge Finals, an elite competition of robots and their human supervisors, June 5-6 at the Fairplex in Pomona, Calif.

Metal Rebel at DRC Trials in Pomona (Photo Courtesy of UNLV)

With $3.5 million cash prize on the line, teams from academia, industry, and the private sector will test their robots with the goal of deployment as first responders in a disaster zone such as the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor incident.

UNLV’s Metal Rebel — a 5-foot-5-inch, 175-pound humanoid robot – will test its mettle against the likes of MIT, NASA and Lockheed Martin in a simulated one-hour course. With little or no human intervention, Metal Rebel will need to drive a vehicle, climb stairs, traverse debris-filled terrain, turn valves, and use power tools.

UNLV’s student/faculty team is led by Paul Oh, Lincy Professor of Unmanned Aerial Systems and a renowned expert in robotics and autonomous systems. Oh is a former program director for robotics at the National Science Foundation and is helping UNLV and Nevada become a national leader in the autonomous systems industry. Joining UNLV on the team are students and one professor from Kookmin University in Seoul, Korea, as well as professionals from robotics company Praxis Aerospace.

Read the full article from the UNLV Campus News here .