Gov. Andrew Cuomo pitched the idea following a trip to Israel, where a drone research partnership was formed. It’s unclear how the center’s mission would differ from an existing state-funded initiative in Syracuse.
(TNS) — The state wants to help boost the drone industry in Central New York by opening its 15th Center of Excellence to help foster collaboration among startup companies in the region.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, after returning from a trip to Israel on Monday, said New York and Israel agreed to be partners in the new Unmanned Aerial Systems Research and Testing Center of Excellence.
New York will provide a $250,000 grant to begin planning development of the center, which would be based in Central New York and serve as a hub for the region’s growing drone industry. No location or academic partners have been selected.
Three Israeli drone companies – CivDrone, Vorpal and Flytrex – have agreed to be the initial tenants of the Center of Excellence, Cuomo said Monday.
It’s unclear how the center’s mission would differ from that of the Nuair Alliance, a state-funded drone industry group based in Syracuse.
New York has committed $30 million to Nuair, which operates a federally-designated testing site for drones in a 50-mile corridor between Syracuse and Griffiss International Airport in Rome.
The Federal Aviation Administration wants the Central New York site to develop “sense and avoid” capabilities for drones that will allow them to be safely integrated into the national airspace with commercial planes.
Cuomo’s said the Nuair Alliance would operate the new Center of Excellence, but his office provided few other details about the proposal.
The state’s 14 existing Centers of Excellence are based at colleges and universities in New York.
Two of the centers have ties to Syracuse – the Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems at Syracuse University, and the Center of Excellence in Healthy Water Solutions at Clarkson University and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse.
A spokesman for Cuomo said the new drone research center will allow the startup companies to “leverage the state’s full innovation and technology network from Buffalo to Long Island.”
The governor said he expected the new research center and Nuair to build public-private partnerships that will create an international hub for the industry in Central New York focusing on drone traffic management.
Cuomo did not specify any deadlines for the opening of the new center, nor say when Empire State Development would complete its planning of the project.
At least two of the three Israeli companies that agreed to be tenants in the new center have already set up operations in Central New York through the Nuair testing site.
Flytrex tested a parachute system for drones at Griffiss International Airport that it wants to use with package delivery drones.
Civdrone has set up an office at the Syracuse Tech Garden, a business incubator in downtown Syracuse. The Israeli company is among five startups in the drone business selected to compete this year in the state-funded $3 million Genius NY competition.
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