New York State plans drone indoor test centre for autonomy, command/control and communications

On 5 January 2020 New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a proposal to invest USD9 million to establish a small unmanned aerial system, or sUAS, experimentation and test facility at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, Oneida County.

According to a press release:

“This “skydome” will be a year-round indoor sUAS research facility that will support the safe experimentation of drone technology and techniques, including secure command and control, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, autonomy, sense-and-avoid, and other techniques that will enable applications such as emergency management services, damage assessment and recovery search and rescue.

“The New York State investments would be used to transform an unoccupied hangar at the Griffiss International Airport into a one-of-a-kind research and test facility. The indoor facility will support collaborative efforts between the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate and the NY UAS Test Site, leveraging the region’s high-tech commercial and academic ecosystem and supporting the development of technologies for sUAS to operate safely and securely in the National Air Space.”

Over the past year, Governor Cuomo has announced several advancements including the completion of the “first in the nation”, 50-mile unmanned traffic management drone corridor, which runs from Central New York to the Mohawk Valley, as well as the approval by the FAA for portions of the corridor to fly unmanned aircraft with Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) technology. This BVLOS authority granted to the FAA-designated test site allows unmanned aircraft testing without the need for ground-based observers. The eight-by-four-mile section of airspace that was approved for these flights is between Griffiss International Airport and the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany.

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