The dream of making Central New York a hub for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) is coming together, thanks to state funding. 

Syracuse University is now working on six critical drone research projects funded by the state’s Upstate Revitalization Program. 

With projects like a drone test corridor well underway, the regions plan to be a leader in unmanned aerial systems is well underway on the commercial side. 

At least $35 million from its half billion dollar upstate revitalization award has already gone to this one effort.  Now, the state has awarded $230,000 from the same fund for the key research projects at Syracuse University.

“Everybody was doing research but they were doing it independently so this particular effort has brought everybody together so everybody knows what is needed,” said Dr. Gudrip Singh, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs at the SU College of Engineering and Computer Science

Singh says there is a lot of research across the country on drones, but most lack the facilities to fly them and test them like SU can.

“We are doing a lot of flights out there so we have licensed pilots which are doing the missions and then we have technicians building these drones up loading them up with the required sensors and things you would need,” said Singh.

It’s not all just happening at the College of Engineering— these research projects stretch across several schools on the SU campus.

“As you see cars on the road, there are going to be unmanned systems in the sky and to get to that particular stage you have to make a lot of technical advances, a lot of policy advances, a lot of application areas that you need to explore,” Singh said.