Busy 6 months for CNY's commercial drone industry project

$5 million State commitment catapulting plans forward

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - Central New York is set for a busy next six months as Phase One of the region’s Unmanned Aerial Systems plan gets into high gear.

The State’s Chief Economic Development Officer announced a $5 million dollar commitment to the effort during a White House workshop on the topic Tuesday.

CenterState CEO, this region’s economic development group, had representatives at the workshop along with some local companies.

“They met with people from across the board, big Fortune 500 companies that were interested in what we're doing here." Ben Sio, CenterState Chief of Staff tells NewsChannel 9.

One of the projects being led by Gryphon Sensors of Syracuse is work on a literal air corridor between Syracuse and Rome, home to Griffiss International Airport which is one of only six FAA approved drone test sites in the country.

Craig Marcinkowski, Director of Strategy and Business Development at Gryphon Sensors, says, "Over the next six months there'll be a lot of planning, sighting for where sensors and other items are going to be placed there, fixed and mobile infrastructure, so a lot of engineering development work there."

A key project in Phase One involves Syracuse University.

Marcinkowski says they’ll be setting up a temporary arrangement where drone testing and cyber assurance testing can take place.

The $5 million investment is only a small portion of the $250-million the region expects the State to put into the commercial drone industry project here.

Business leaders say it’s key in helping build the ecosystem to support local companies and attract firms from outside the region.

"We've already had a ton of attention from firms as far away as Israel that have heard about what we're doing in Central New York and want to come and locate here and bring jobs here and operate just because of the investments we're beginning to make." Sio says.

Project leaders are trying to get a good deal of work done before Central New York hosts a key conference on commercial drones involving NASA this November.

The same conference last year was held in Silicon Valley.


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