New York Project Will Explore Delivery, Passenger Drones

Source: NUAIR

A New York county is flying high after scoring almost $1 million from NASA to research delivery and passenger drones.

The nation’s top aeronautic agency awarded Oneida County $897,000 to develop Advanced Air Mobility at the New York UAS Test Site (Griffiss International Airport).

“The goal of the research is to develop technology that will support safe, secure, resilient and efficient heavy-lift UAS cargo delivery and passenger carrying,” a county spokesperson said.

Owned by Oneida County, the test site is one of seven FAA-Designated UAS Test Sites and is managed by NUAIR. The site is also part of the 50-mile UAS Traffic Management corridor spanning from Rome to Syracuse. Last year, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the completion of the corridor. It includes BVLOS testing and advanced drone operations.

“Oneida County’s long-standing partnership with NASA has proven to be a productive one,” Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. said. “Together, we have conducted crucial research that has led to transformative advancements in the UAS industry. I look forward to the impact this new collaboration will have on the future of this emerging technology.”

Part of NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility Project, the project will develop the operation of vertiports, as well as infrastructure requirements needed to increase scale of automation technologies. Vertiports could pave the way for autonomous drone taxis.

“This new NASA task order has positioned Oneida County to be the leader in Advanced Air Mobility development,” said Oneida County Aviation Commissioner Chad Lawrence. “It is a testament to the high quality of work conducted by our UAS Test Site and its partners.”

In a 2019 DroneLife interview, NUAIR CEO Michael Hertzendorf noted the expansion of unmanned traffic management as well as delivery and passenger drones benefits the state’s economy.

“What is most exciting to me is not the drones,” Hertzendorf said. “It’s the economic potential that this technology could have on communities – how can we make New York better for the people.”

“The best is yet to come,” Hertzendorf added.   “UTM is the building block.  Once we get into urban air mobility and the larger platforms which are out on the horizon, it’s really exciting.”

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