CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – September 8, 2011 – Priority One, the economic development division of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Entrepreneurial Development Center, announced today that California-based AirCover Integrated Solutions has applied for funds to assist with establishing operations in Cedar Rapids. The company is looking to lease space in the Cherry Building, located downtown at 329 10th Ave SE, to manufacture, assemble, test, and sell their QuadRotor unmanned surveillance systems.
The project represents $5 million in capital investment and will create 15 to 25 jobs over the next three years.
“We are very excited to establish operations in Cedar Rapids” said James Hill, president of AirCover Integrated Solutions. “The talented and technically skilled workforce, network of like-technology companies, and access to the University of Iowa made Cedar Rapids a natural fit for our company. We appreciate the efforts of Priority One, the EDC, and the city in helping us find a location that meets our needs.”
“We are extremely pleased that AirCover has decided to develop their innovation center in our downtown,” said Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett. “As we continue to develop an economic environment that embraces and cultivates start-ups and entrepreneurs, I think we’ll see more companies like AirCover coming to our community.”
AirCover has developed technology to allow unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to land and take off vertically. The company is exploring potential partnerships with several existing businesses and local law enforcement agencies, including the Cedar Rapids Fire Department. They have already identified one partner in the University of Iowa’s Operator Performance Laboratory (OPL.)
“Air-launching UAVs is a capability that is in high demand in the first responder and military user communities,” said Tom Schnell, associate professor and director of the OPL. “I am excited for the opportunity to collaborate with AirCover. Infrastructure at OPL will be made available for joint projects, including the development of a fully integrated pilot-to-ground interoperability system for public safety and commercial applications.”
The project is contingent upon formal approval of state and local incentives, including tax credits and indirect financing. Priority One and the EDC are assisting AirCover with the application process.
“This project is a wonderful example of economic development collaboration,” said Dee Baird, president of Priority One. “The EDC used their expertise to manage the financial assistance process, while Priority One was able to focus on site selection. Our organizations worked hand-in-hand to bring a cutting-edge firm to downtown Cedar Rapids, and we look forward to working with EDC on additional projects in the future.”
About AirCover Integrated Solutions
AirCover Integrated Solutions Corporation, founded in 2008, is headquartered in El Dorado Hills, California. The company has developed a superior QuadRotor unmanned surveillance system that fits into a number of public safety crisis management situations, such as seismic events, law enforcement protection, and first responder needs (fire, police, ambulance). The QuadRotor unmanned system has extended range flight time allowing it to have an increased stand-off distance from dangerous situations, and is extremely mobile, light (5 lbs.), and extraordinarily rugged. It carries user-defined camera options with a real time video link to the brief-case size control box. In addition to the full motion real time video, the QuadRotor system has real time GPS, “Virtual Radar,” full flight data (altitude, distance, etc.), and an autonomous “fly home” feature.