Industry Spotlight: Drones In Central New York

Supporting the State’s Growing Unmanned Aerial Systems Hub

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky recently took part in a White House conference focused on the burgeoning drone industry. A highlight of his Aug. 2 panel discussion on “The Role of Data and Research and Development in Policymaking,” was Governor Cuomo’s same-day announcement of $5 million in investments that will be used to support the state’s unparalleled commitment to the growing Unmanned Aerial Systems industry (UAS) in Central New York.

The money will be used to grow the development of an air traffic management system for drones in a corridor that runs between Syracuse and Rome. Syracuse University and Mohawk Valley Community College, in the process of developing curricula on drone use, will also be instrumental in coordinating research and development efforts in the region.

 “We are determined to ensure that our state is well positioned when it comes to the burgeoning unmanned aircraft system industry,” said Commissioner Zemsky. “We think you need government as partners in innovation and entrepreneurship, and to leverage the infrastructure that we can bring to the table”.

The August drone research and development policy workshop on Drones and the Future of Aviation, held at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., was sponsored by the White House Office of Science and Technology. Panel participants discussed the growth in opportunities in the UAS field, with total job creation numbers expected to top 100,000 by 2025,according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a conference sponsor.  

New York State’s drone industry investment complements a larger initiative to boost economic growth as a crucial part of the Central NY Rising plan. Drone research, development and manufacturing are key to the region’s winning $500 million dollar Upstate Revitalization Initiative plan with almost half of the money expected to be earmarked to grow this developing field.

Another sign of the industry’s growing presence in the region: Syracuse will host the upcoming 2016 UTM Convention from Nov. 8-10, with events taking place across Syracuse, and at the Griffiss International Airport in Rome. The convention, featuring  keynote briefings from NASA,  will be hosted by Empire State Development, the CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity and others, including the Air Traffic Controllers Association, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International,  Onondaga County, Oneida County, The NUAIR Alliance, and Syracuse University. Details on the Convention can be found here.