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City Council Approves Resolution to Apply for a Grant to Upgrade Municipal Boat Launch Facilities to Allow for Marine Autonomous Systems Testing


Norfolk and the Hampton Roads region is a hub for Marine Autonomous Systems


NORFOLK, VA – The Norfolk Department of Development is seeking a FY 2022 Port Host Communities Revitalization Fund (PHCRF) Grant that will augment planned upgrades to a City owned boat ramp to accommodate local testing of Unmanned Surface and Underwater Vehicles (USV/UUV).

The City will work in partnership with Old Dominion University (ODU) to leverage city-funded renovations and upgrades to the nearly 5-acre Willoughby Boat Ramp at 13th View and Bayville Street to establish a regional marine unmanned systems test facility. This will make existing university research programs and businesses more competitive. The upgrades will also position Norfolk to attract additional USV/UUV companies.

If successful, a grant in the amount of $250,000 will be funded to the City, augmenting $900K in capital improvements budget funded renovations of city boat ramps, to enable commercial and academic research testing of Unmanned Surface and Underwater Vehicles while maintaining continued access for recreational boaters.  

Norfolk, home to the world’s largest naval base provides a maritime development environment like no other.   For more information on the City of Norfolk and our targeted industries check out Norfolk Department of Development.


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