In an effort to advance the burgeoning unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) industry in central New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, D-N.Y., has announced a $30 million investment to develop a 50-mile flight traffic management system between Syracuse and Griffiss International Airport in Rome.
Within the corridor, strategic investments will accelerate industry growth by supporting emerging uses of UAS in key central New York industries, including agriculture and forest management, transportation and logistics, media and film development, utilities and infrastructure, and public safety.
“This major development builds on central New York’s strengths and will cement the region as a global hub for this rapidly growing industry,” Cuomo says. “With strategic investments in emerging high-growth sectors, we are strengthening regional economies across New York and reinvigorating this state’s spirit of innovation and enterprise.”
The investment will be made through a partnership between Empire State Development and the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR) as part of phase two of Project U-SAFE, which aims to accelerate the testing, certification and safe integration of UAS into airspace. For phase two, the state has committed to implementing NASA-founded concepts of UAS traffic management (UTM) and UAS standardized testing and rating. In August, the governor announced a $5 million investment for phase 1 of the project.
The new corridor will also create opportunities for sensor companies to deploy, test and validate their systems in support of UTM; for data integrators to test their software on multiple sensing platforms; and for platforms to test and validate their technologies in an environment with beyond-line-of-sight capabilities.
NUAIR will deliver a plan and release and oversee a request for proposals process in early 2017; establish an industry and academic consortium to drive business engagement; and together with state partners, ensure the deployment of the UTM corridor by 2018.
NASA is collaborating with NUAIR to develop the required specifications for the development and procurement of a UTM system, being commissioned by New York State and NUAIR for the new corridor.
“This investment represents an exciting time in the advancement of the UAS and UTM industries in the region,” comments Lawrence H. Brinker, executive director and general counsel of NUAIR. “UAS is the next great evolution of aviation in the United States, and this region has leading capabilities and expertise to advance the technologies and systems that are driving this sector.”
This announcement complements “Central NY Rising,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate economic growth and community development. New York State has already invested nearly $3 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy, according to the governor’s office.