UAS Convention Could Give Rise to Drone Industry in CNY

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The drone industry is taking flight across the country and companies across Central New York are looking to capitalize.

“We’ve made a big bet on unmanned systems because we know we have the assets,” Centerstate CEO and president Robert Simpson said. “We have great companies like SRC and Lockheed and Saab and others that have tremendous technology capabilities.”

The region will show its progress to the world this November. Central New York and the Mohawk Valley will host a UAS Traffic Management Convention featuring hundreds of industry leaders.

“I think someday people are going to look back on this and say, when Syracuse got that conference and showed the world what we already have it turned into good things for us,” Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said.

The conference will focus on NASA-led research into how to safely integrate low-altitude UAS like drones into the national airspace. Local leaders hope the work already being done here entices others to think about Central New York.

“We’re hoping that national companies that want to be part of the building of these radar systems, and that air traffic control system will know that you should set up a business in Central New York to be in the hub of where this activity is taking place,” Mahoney said.

Leaders hope more drone investments will follow. The region’s winning Upstate Revitalization Initiative proposal featured several steps to spark growth in the industry.