Central New York drone corridor will help develop unmanned aircrafts

Dec 7, 2016

A 50-mile drone corridor from Rome to Syracuse will be the center of the burgeoning unmanned aircraft systems industry in central New York. 

Larry Brinker, the executive director of the NUAIR Alliance, said it will be able to help developers try to solve some of the technological glitches that are grounding the industry at this point.

"The notion of the corridor is so we can have absolute electronic, if you will, eyes on the target as it flies along," Brinker said. "That way we can verify that it’s controllable. That it knows where to go if it loses it’s link to the satellite. All that sort of stuff.” 

Brinker said the corridor will have an inside testing and verification center, with an air traffic systems used to dealing with unmanned aircraft, and a testing and certification facility called NUSTAR. And following last month's drone conference in Syracuse that drew 700 participants from 25 countries, the comparisons to Silicon Valley are flowing.

“Companies are going to have to collaborate to come up with a solution because nobody has the single answer. and that’s how Silicon Valley started, that’s what exists today," Brinker said. "People are drawn to that area because of the collaboration of the companies that are there, and that’s what we expect to do here as well.”

The corridor stretches from Rome’s Griffiss International Airport -- one of the nations six FAA-approved UAS test sites -- to Hancock International Airport -- home to the 174th Attack Wing, which operates military Reaper drones from the airport.

New York state has invested millions in the drone industry in central New York, much of it to attract businesses developing new drone technology. The FAA figures the UAS business will be a $90 billion industry by 2025.