North Carolina lawmakers have awarded a $5 million grant to Aerox, an aviation company with a division based in Winston-Salem. The funds will be used to expand the infrastructure for government and commercial use of unmanned drones.

AeroX is a nonprofit coalition of business, government, and community partners focusing on the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly known as drones.

AeroX is tasked with designing and developing an advanced air mobility system in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. The goal is an air traffic management system that will allow unmanned and manned aircraft to fly safely in the low-altitude airspace where drones typically operate.

Partners in the initiative include UPS Flight Forward, which delivers medical packages across the Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center campus. The coalition also includes Novant Health and Smith Reynolds Airport, which has been designated by the Federal Aviation Administration as a testing ground for drone technology.

According to a news release, the grant will be administered through the North Carolina Department of Transportation Division of Aviation.

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