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Sen. Booker joins local officials for tour of WCC’s Robotics Research Center

Warren County Community College is at the Forefront of this Emerging Industry with a State-of-the-Art UAS "Flight Training Center" at the Dr. Joseph Warren Robotics Research Center in Phillipsburg

PHILLIPSBURG, NJ (Warren County) – Warren Community College welcomed a host of dignitaries to the Dr. Joseph Warren Robotics Research Center in Phillipsburg for an informative presentation and tour of the facility.

Warren County Commissioner Director Lori Ciesla was joined by United States Senator Cory Booker and local elected officials to learn more about the incredible work and research being conducted.

The event also aimed to celebrate the nearly $700,000 allocated within the Senate appropriations bill for the college’s Precision Agriculture Technology Project. Pending approval by the US House of Representatives, these funds will facilitate the exploration of ways in which robotics and drones can be utilized to develop tools that promote sustainable and economically viable farming methods.

Following a presentation by Dr. William Austin, the staff of WCC’s Unmanned Systems Program (Warren UAS) guided Senator Booker and Commissioner Ciesla through their facility.

“My staff told me I would be amazed, but this is like a category five hurricane. I am incredibly proud of the work being done here and its implications for humanity – in agriculture, transportation, public safety, and homeland security. The potential for humanitarian applications is astounding, and we’re just scratching the surface of this,” Booker said.

Warren UAS is one of the most cutting-edge and hands-on programs in the county, ensuring that its students are well-prepared for lucrative careers in Drone Systems, Robotics, and AI. Through the program’s Associate of Science in Unmanned Systems track, students learn to pilot and repair drones and robots.

By obtaining the Drone Pilot certificate, students become Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-certified drone pilots, while the Drone Repair and Maintenance certificate equips them with knowledge on how drones and robots function and how to repair them.

“I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Senator Booker for visiting Warren County to see our County College’s drone and robotics lab. The grant totaling nearly $700,000 that he secured for us will propel this program to the next level, particularly in the field of precision agriculture. These technologies assist our farmers in enhancing crop production with reduced costs and minimized environmental impact on the soil. Dr. Will Austin and his team consistently surpass expectations, and every time I visit the lab, there’s a new project or challenge they’re addressing, often involving collaboration with various agencies seeking their expertise. It fills me with pride to witness these advancements happening right here in Warren County. This program is an invaluable asset to the county, state, nation, and the global community,” Ciesla said.

“We’re a state that has been at the forefront of innovation throughout our history, dating back to the colonial period. Our focus has always been on progress rather than political affiliations. To see you all continuing this legacy in our state, utilizing emerging technologies such as drones, AI, and robotics, is a testament to our future… the returns on our investment here are immeasurable,” Booker said.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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