September 29, 2017

Governor Cuomo Announces Groundbreaking Deal Between NASA and NUAIR To Grow Drone Industry In Central New York and Mohawk Valley

News Photo

NASA to Advise in Further Development of Drone Corridor and Other Unmanned Aerial Systems Projects in New York State

SRC Plans to Hire 1,000 New Employees in Next Five Years as a Result of Increased Industry Growth and Demand

State Investment in Burgeoning Drone Industry Complements "Central NY Rising" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today Thursday a groundbreaking agreement between NASA and the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance to grow the drone industry in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley. The agreement formalizes a partnership in support of two elements of the State's Unmanned Aerial Systems strategy: the launch of the world's first 50-mile Unmanned Traffic Management Corridor and creation of NUSTAR, the most comprehensive UAS test facility in the nation. The announcement was made prior to a demonstration of the first phase of the UTM Corridor in operation, a breakthrough infrastructure asset intending to unlock beyond-visual-line-of-sight commercial operations. That exhibition highlighted the State's commitment to the burgeoning industry and what has become the most advanced drone testing corridor in the nation.

"With this groundbreaking partnership and our $30 million investment for the most advanced drone testing in the country, we are establishing Central New York and the Mohawk Valley as the premiere destination for businesses at the forefront of innovation," Governor Cuomo said. "By investing in this cutting-edge technology, we are creating a pathway to grow the upstate economy and create good-paying, quality jobs in the industries of the future."

The development of the drone corridor is expected to unlock a trillion-dollar global industry and attract businesses development and new drone technology to the state, specifically in Central New York. Dividends are already paying off, as regionally based SRC Incorporated plans to initially hire 50 engineers following its announcement of a $65 million contract with the U.S. Army to develop a system to detect and defeat small drones. Additionally, the company plans to add up to 1000 new hires over the next five years thanks in large part to the state's investment in the UAS industry which is working to create an ecosystem that will attract companies to Central New York. There are nearly 200 companies from across the world exploring investment opportunities in the region.

New York's Investments in the Drone Industry

These opportunities build on the explosion in demand at the NUAIR-managed test site in Rome, and New York State's investments in the drone sector. In the past year, 645 test flights were conducted at the test site, a tenfold increase from the year before. In 2016, Empire State Development invested $30 million in the 50-mile drone test corridor between Syracuse and Rome in the form of a CNY Rising Upstate Revitalization Initiative Grant. Governor Cuomo has also invested $10 million in GENIUS NY, one of the world's largest business competitions focused on unmanned systems, cross-connected platforms and other technology-based sectors. In 2015, as part of the round four CFA, the State invested $4 million to install state-of-the-art surveillance and airport surface radar equipment at Griffiss Airport.

New York State also made a related $5 million URI investment in Gryphon Sensors, a company based in Central New York that has developed a state-of-the-art mobile Unmanned Traffic Management system called Mobile Skylight, which provides three dimensional detection of low-flying, small, UAS at a distance of out to 10 kilometers. The unit is a complete mobile command center featuring 4x4 off-road capability that can be taken anywhere without a commercial driver's license and is for rapid deployment for a wide range of applications, including stadium, special event security, first responder and search and rescue operations as well as infrastructure and utility inspection.

NASA said, "NASA's agreement with NUAIR will provide mutual benefit in advancing UAS traffic management technologies that will foster innovation and commercialization of this new aviation industry. Our collaboration will support deploying a UAS traffic management system in the UTM corridor and Test Site, and give NASA opportunities for testing to advance research and development in critical technologies such as communication, navigation, and large scale UAS traffic management."

FAA Deputy Administrator Dan Elwell said, "The partnership at work in NY to implement the UTM corridor is writing another chapter in aviation's rich history of innovation. Allowing safe, beyond visual line of sight UAS operations through detection of manned and unmanned vehicles is the critical next step toward fully recognizing the benefits of this new technology."

Lawrence H. Brinker, interim President and CEO of the NUAIR Alliance, said, "The successful launch of the drone corridor marks the first of its kind in the nation, sending an important message about our region's leadership, innovation and commercialization capabilities in this sector. Further coupled with the investments made by New York state, the region is positioned to be the single best place for the research and development associated with growing the UAS sector "Through this project, the region is advancing detect and avoid technologies critical to integrating UAS into the nation's commercial airspace. We are excited to begin collecting and analyzing data and supporting businesses as they test groundbreaking technologies and grow their companies in Central New York."

Paul Tremont, President and CEO of SRC said, "SRC is pleased that the Governor has shown such a commitment to supporting the unmanned systems sector locally. Because of this support, the efforts of CNY Rising and the national demand for UAS related systems, SRC enterprise plans to add 1,000 jobs in the next 5 years. Counter-UAS requirements are creating opportunities contributing to Central New York's unprecedented growth and accelerating its role as a leader in this technology."

Anthony Albanese, President of Gryphon Sensors, said, "Gryphon Sensors is honored to be leading Phase I of Project U-SAFE with a team of exceptional local industry that is bringing UAS Traffic Management to life. Thanks to New York State's unprecedented and visionary investment in UAS infrastructure, Central New York and the Mohawk Valley region will have the most advanced infrastructure in the world to conduct UAS testing and commercial beyond visual line of sight operations."

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. said, "Today's demonstration serves as a world showcase for the innovation and opportunity our region has to offer. Together with our partners in Syracuse, our Griffiss Test Site is solidifying the Mohawk Valley and Central New York corridor as the undisputed leader in UAS development. With the support of Governor Cuomo and our agreement with NASA, the potential for technological advancement and economic development is limitless."

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "The CNY Rising Upstate Revitalization Initiative is helping to build the hi-tech drone industry in the region and working to create the highly trained workforce that will be needed to support this burgeoning industry for many years to come."

Local educational institutions are also working to further drone industry efforts in the region. Both Syracuse University and Mohawk Valley Community College have aligned training curriculum and research efforts around the growing needs of this sector. New York State is also sponsoring Round Two of the GENIUS NY program in the region; one of the largest startup business accelerator programs in the world that caters to business proposals in the categories of Unmanned Systems and Data to Decisions Applications.

Central New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Robert Simpson, President of CenterState CEO and Dr. Danielle Laraque-Arena, President of SUNY Upstate University Medical Center said, " Today's successful UTM corridor launch, and the announcement of the deal between NASA and NUAIR marks an important milestone in the advancement of the UAS sector in our region. Central New York is uniquely positioned to lead this global market by building on state investments, public and private partnerships, its regional expertise, and through the growth of next-generation companies. Through our comprehensive approach the region is showing its long-term commitment to developing this hi-tech industry cluster and realizing the economic opportunities that will result."

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, "The commitment from Governor Cuomo and New York State to the burgeoning Unmanned Aerial Systems industry in Central New York is incredibly important for the region. As a key part of the CNY Rising economic development plan, the region is working to establish itself as the global hub for this innovative industry, which in turn will help to grow the regional economy."

Senator Joseph A. Griffo said, "We want to position ourselves to take advantage of emerging opportunities in emerging industries. Griffiss and our region have been at the forefront of testing and developing technology like this. This partnership will have a positive impact by creating job and economic development opportunities and will further strengthen the Mohawk Valley's position as a worldwide leader in the realms of innovation and technology."

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi said, "Since the days of the Erie Canal, the Mohawk Valley and Central New York have always been leaders in innovation. This commitment from NASA, and the significant investment by the state will put New York and the region at the forefront of growth and innovation for the booming UAS industry. Our region is blessed with outstanding partners in industry and education, and their presence has greatly helped this exciting announcement become a reality. I especially want to thank Governor Cuomo for his commitment to a plan which will be a huge boost to the economy, and which will help make our skies a lot safer."

Oneida County Partners