BW Announces Launch of NEOFIX, Cuyahoga County’s New Drone Safety Platform

The Promise of Advanced Air Mobility

The digital data-sharing system aims to enhance uncrewed aerial flight safety and to drive economic growth by positioning Northeast Ohio as an industry leader.

Our goal with NEOFIX is to create a centralized hub for flight information that empowers responsible drone use and enhances situational awareness for both operators and public safety,”

— Stuart Mendel

BEREA, OH, UNITED STATES, August 26, 2023/ — Baldwin Wallace University’s Technology Partnerships Initiative in collaboration with ATA, LLC, has launched the Northeast Ohio Flight Information Exchange (NEOFIX), a digital data-sharing system designed to enhance drone safety, starting in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.

NEOFIX provides real-time awareness of ground policies, infrastructure, and activities that may impact flight operations, enabling state and local public safety agencies, government entities, drone pilots, and the public to provide crucial information, promote transparency, and ensure a high level of safety and accountability in drone operations.

Filling the Gaps, Unlocking Potential:

“Our goal with NEOFIX is to create a centralized hub for flight information that empowers responsible drone use and enhances situational awareness for both operators and public safety,” said Stuart Mendel of Baldwin Wallace University’s Technology Partnerships Initiative.

“By filling the gap between traditional aviation charts and street maps, NEOFIX unlocks economic prospects and positions Cleveland and Cuyahoga County as drone industry pioneers, prioritizing public safety and the rights of citizens and harnessing drones for advanced emergency response.” The graphic elaborates on these promises, applicable to Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and all of Ohio.

Transformative Centralized Information Hub:

NEOFIX is an Authoritative Supplemental Data Service Provider (ASDSP) that provides the operators of drones, which are also known as Uncrewed Aircraft Systems or UAS, with essential information for informed decisions, operational efficiency and risk mitigation. It is a centralized hub that enhances collaboration, communication, and safety for operators, public safety agencies, government entities, UAS Service Suppliers (USS) and the public. NEOFIX also offers access to safety advisories, weather assessments, local infrastructure details, topography insights and real-time updates.

As a shared governance model and authoritative source for clearer, higher quality information that is critical for drone pilots, NEOFIX is an essential component for building a UAS Traffic Management (UTM) System. It provides a situational awareness of the ground that is sent to service suppliers for the drone industry that are currently developing UTM systems.

These commercial UTM systems are designed to operate like air traffic control in the close reaches of the airspace. They will soon be used for drones to fly greater distances beyond the visual line of sight of their operators.

“NEOFIX represents a transformative platform that empowers drone operators with comprehensive information, ensures safe integration, and fosters the growth and advancement of the drone industry in a cost-effective manner,” said John Eberhardt, the chief technology officer of ATA. “By embracing NEOFIX, operators gain critical data, promote regulatory compliance, and enhance drone safety.”

Cuyahoga County Leading the Way:

With the support from Cuyahoga County District 2 Councilman Dale Miller, Baldwin Wallace secured $225,000 in funding for the inaugural year of NEOFIX from the federal COVID-19 stimulus package, which was part of the American Rescue Plan Act. This financial support sets the stage for the successful launch and implementation of the program and positions Northeast Ohio for private investment in infrastructure, education and jobs as the industry continues to expand in the region and eventually to the entire state.

NEOFIX helps to improve the safety and efficiency of using drones in various industries to drive this economic growth. For example, drones are used in construction to inspect buildings and bridges, reducing the need for workers to perform these tasks that are often dangerous, time consuming and expensive by traditional methods. Drones fly over farmland, helping farmers survey their fields more quickly. First responders deploy drones to conduct search and rescue operations, deliver medical supplies and other emergency response missions.

Additionally, NEOFIX provides environmental benefits by creating infrastructure to support drone services in Northeast Ohio that reduce the need for larger ground transportation vehicles for deliveries. Drones are also powered by electric or hydrogen, which are cleaner energy sources. And when integrated with sensor information, drones strengthen the area’s resilience against severe weather conditions and climate events, fostering a safer and more sustainable community.

Publicly-Owned and Governed:

NEOFIX is a publicly owned digital service with data in the public domain, such as take-off and landing areas, critical infrastructure, local guidance and rules, and existing sensors. It uses an open interface for authorized users to publish key information.

A user group with representatives from state and local government and public safety agencies, service suppliers, critical infrastructure providers will govern the system and identify the types of information that can be properly and consistently described and published. Private industry partners, including Critical Ops, LLC, an Ohio-based integration consulting firm, is helping guide and shape sustainable NEOFIX operations in Ohio.

“Government data provides a common operating picture, benefiting operators and industries. As information integrators, we facilitate the flow of data to end users as public digital services,” Eberhardt said. “Our model helps lower operating costs for operators, governments, and industries while addressing their needs.”

For more information about NEOFIX and public access to the system, please visit the NEOFIX site.


NEOFIX is administered by Baldwin Wallace University (BW) in Berea, Ohio, with funding support from Cuyahoga County, Ohio. The data in NEOFIX is owned and managed by BW as a public asset for the people of Cuyahoga County. NEOFIX provides authoritative state and local data sharing for local and state agencies, to UAS Service Suppliers (USS), and to Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS) and Advanced Aerial Mobility (AAM) operators. For more information, please visit the NEOFIX system website.

About Baldwin Wallace University Technology Partnerships Initiative:

Baldwin Wallace University’s Technology Partnerships Initiative creates the conditions for technology and related businesses development to benefit the education and career opportunities of BW students, faculty and alumni in the region and Cuyahoga County communities adjacent and nearby to NASA Glenn Research Center and CLE Hopkins. The work products draw on the notion that BW will incubate social enterprise and engage public private partnership principles as if it were a nonprofit intermediary organization housed in a university setting.

Stuart Mendel
Baldwin Wallace University
email us here

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Agla News staff