N.Y. Completes 50-Mile Drone Corridor, Invests Another $12.5M

A newly completed drone testing corridor between Syracuse International Airport and Griffiss International Airport in Rome, N.Y., is seeing additional state investment in a facility that will allow for indoor testing.

by / November 12, 2019
A rendering of the Syracuse Tech Garden. Courtesy State of New York

A 50-mile unmanned aerial vehicle test corridor, stretching from the Syracuse International Airport to Griffiss International Airport in Rome, N.Y., has been completed, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The corridor, described as a “first-in-the-nation,” is equipped with sensors and other measurement and analysis devices to track, test and monitor drones for a wide variety of applications.

“We’ll bring the manufacturing industry here, and the tech industry here, because they need to test the product. And we’ll have the place where they can test it,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Thursday in his public comments from Syracuse.

The governor described the project as an economic development engine revving the growth of a $43 billion international industry. The state invested $30 million in 2016 into the development of the drone test corridor.

Anchoring the drone corridor will be the $12.5 million expansion of the Syracuse Technology Garden in downtown Syracuse, adding two floors to the facility, allowing for the testing of drones in an indoor setting, before graduating them to the 50-mile outdoor test corridor.

“This is the dream. This is the vison. This is part of the mayor’s ‘Syracuse surge,’” said Cuomo.

An eight-mile by four-mile section of the airspace in the test corridor has also received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly unmanned aircraft beyond what’s commonly called the “visual line of sight,” (BVLOS). The designation means drones can be flown beyond the vision of observers on the ground.

The development and testing of drone technology is appearing in other parts of the country as well. The devices are being used by first responders in southern California to respond to 911 calls. And other test sites approved by the FAA include the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority; Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma; the University of Alaska Fairbanks; and the Mosquito Control District in Lee County, Fla., among others.

“Bring the economy of tomorrow to Syracuse today. And that is exactly what we are doing,” said Cuomo. 

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