The unmanned air system, or UAS drone industry is a multi-billion dollar one, and growing. Some of that buzz is settling roots in Central New York and looking to grow through the Empire State.
"Delivery data capture, inspection," listed Nuair President and CEO Ken Steward. "Public safety, as well as medical delivery and things like that."
There's a lot of excitement surrounding drones and companies like Nuair , based in Syracuse, are doing a lot of planning, but it's out in Rome where the boots are on the ground, metaphorically speaking, and a lot of the testing happens.
"So what we do here at Griffis is we do the flight testing of all the different projects that come to us, and this is the notional footprint, the blue of where our eight fixed radars are located," said Nuair 's Chief Operating Officer Tony Basile.
The folks at Nuair have slowly built a 50 mile corridor to test different drone functions, because no matter what they're doing, the key is safety.
"We don't just go out and do this stuff, you know," Basile added. "We look at it very stringently, prior to actually putting an aircraft in the air."
No matter the mission, much of the testing is to expand capabilities in a growing range.
"We see the latency, and how long it takes for when an aircraft is at range, say, six miles away from us. We put in a flight control input: how long does it take for that flight control input to actually happen, because we'll be flying it from here," said Basile.
Recently, getting the backing of New York state is a venture to make sure that capability can expand, especially when it comes to infrastructure and things like unmanned inspections.
"Just between Schenectady, Albany and Syracuse about a $1.3 billion problem every year," said Steward. "Well, New York also transits about $1.5 trillion worth of goods across the state every year 75% by trucks, there's 17,900-something bridges in the state of New York. Every time one of those lanes is closed, because we have congestion problems, so the idea is moving that to more of a digital twin. We could take 30 minutes versus eight hours or two days. It really minimizes the impact to commerce."
Drones aren't out to steal anyone's jobs, in fact it's one of the fastest growing work sectors as many look to escape pandemic woes and start anew. And we might just be in the right place for it.
"To me, it has all the potential of being to the U.S. in the drone space as to what Silicon Valley is to software," added Steward. "I know some people think that's a stretch, but there is no other place like this in the United States."
Nuair is currently working with the state and first responding agencies to test and utilize drones for things like medical supply and even regency blood transport. As for when these drones will be delivering your Amazon order? They're working on that, too.