Sky High Hobby on the State of Drone Flying in NY

Drone innovation is rising and affecting many different industry sectors. Many businesses, however, still don’t grasp the sheer multitude of resources available to them in New York where drones are concerned. There are some great UAS and UAV startups and companies in the state, such as Akrobotix, Verifly, Drone Racing League, and EagleHawk. We learn more about the advent of drone flying in New York from the experts at  

How much are drones worth in New York?  

In 2016, unmanned aerial systems and vehicles in upstate New York were allocated the grand sum of 250 million dollars via the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. If that weren’t enough, there are many more funding opportunities for drone businesses who want to operate in the state, the majority of which are offered by venture capital firms.

Who funds drone flying in the state?

A number of establishments do. One of them is the UAS Central Job Fund, which is funded by state grants to attract companies to this part of the country. The fund offers incentives directly related to creating jobs, thereby assisting businesses in the process of increasing their presence and investments in the state. They target for-profit companies to create new jobs.

Another resource is made available via additional funding programs such as Grants for Growth, The Center for Clean Tech Entrepreneurship, and The Technology Commercialization Growth Pre-Seed Fund. More information is available on the UAS Central site.

The Tech Garden in Syracuse has a business accelerator called Genius NY, funded by Empire State Development. This is the biggest international business accelerator competition, investing $3 million in the sector a year.

How are businesses currently using drones in New York? What drones are they using?   

Currently, pilots are using drones in building and architecture, agriculture, delivery, engineering, media, emergency services, and environmental monitoring and conservation. The sector of drones-as-a-service is showing great promise and will keep expanding in the future. Drones are widely used in filmmaking. Commercial drone companies are using their products for activities like bridge and building inspections.

Any other interesting things we need to know?

There is a wealth of assets in New York where drones are concerned. For example, the 174th Attack Wing became the first Air National Guard unit to fly drones, more specifically one known as the Predator B. This unmanned aerial vehicle can fly autonomously or via remote control and is designed for high-altitude, long-endurance surveillance. The unit is also among the few AF drone training and maintenance units.

The Rome-based Griffiss Business and Technology Park is one of a small number of sites that the FAA has approved to test unmanned aerial systems and vehicles. The business and tech park hosts at least five aviation-based businesses. NUAIR, which is also located in Rome, New York, is designed to support the testing center and tasked with developing drone communication and unmanned traffic management policy.

Another segment that’s really “taking off” (pun intended) is 3D drone printing. You can read all about it here.