This ATE National Center aims to serve the national need for developing and maintaining a skilled technical workforce in the field of autonomous technologies. Autonomous technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way people across the globe live, work, travel, and learn. They also have critical implications for the national economy, as well as national safety and security. The National Center for Autonomous Technologies will focus on three areas of autonomous technology: unmanned aircraft systems, connected automated vehicles, and unmanned underwater vehicles. These autonomous vehicles will have tremendous impact on the quality of human life across the nation, from rural to urban communities, as well on understanding of agriculture, the biosphere, and sustaining life in the oceans. Successful deployment of autonomous vehicles requires highly skilled, agile technicians who can support vehicle design, monitoring, control, use, and repair. The mission of the National Center for Autonomous Technologies will be to coordinate and lead efforts to educate the skilled technical workforce in autonomous technologies. The Center aims to achieve its mission through a concerted national effort that will develop and disseminate educational resources to meet current and future workforce demands and broadly engage stakeholders from industry, government, and related ATE projects and centers. 

The Center aims to improve student learning and technician education by conducting research and analysis to design quality curricula and content that meets the evolving demands of autonomous technologies in unmanned aircraft systems, connected automated vehicles, and unmanned underwater vehicles. The Center also aims to support recruitment and success of rural and underrepresented students in careers related to autonomous technologies, while developing replicable models that increase access to these careers for all students. This work will build upon existing collaborations with Tribal Serving Colleges and with high schools throughout the Northern Plains region. The Center's specific objectives include to: 1) design, develop, coordinate, and implement specialized and collaborative autonomous technology workshops for educators and industry; 2) expand engagement in STEM and autonomous technologies by increasing the quality and diversity of the STEM workforce; 3) employ service learning activities that support community engagement and increase the visibility and utility of careers in autonomous technologies; and 4) establish an education resource hub for autonomous technologies with a focus on outreach and expanded partnerships. The National Center for Autonomous Technologies aims to achieve its mission through partnerships with ATE Centers (e.g., CAAT; CA2VES; GeoTech; MATE; and SpaceTEC), ATE projects, industry, and government. By supporting collaborations among these stakeholders, the Center expects to develop and disseminate the content and tools needed to educate technicians for careers in autonomous technologies.

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