Assemblyman Stirpe: Drones Improve Public Safety, Create Jobs and Boost Central New Yorkís Economy

September 15, 2017

Getting a birdís-eye view of vast crop land has the potential to help farmers estimate yields, check on soil health or detect problems with irrigation. Drones can do just that. In fact, experts predict that drone technology will help farmers take such a big leap forward in efficiency that agriculture will make up almost 80 percent of the commercial drone market in the next five years.1

While agriculture will be a huge market, drones also open up countless new possibilities for the public and private sectors. Drones could also help locate missing people faster as well as deliver emergency supplies during search-and-rescue operations. Drones could also help fight fires and monitor flooding. 2

Overall, drones, or unmanned aerial systems (UAS), are expected to become a $100 billion industry, which is good news for our region.3 As we build out the FAA-approved test corridor, through the NUAIR Alliance, Central New York is quickly becoming a hub for drone technology development, which means good-paying jobs for our community and strong local businesses with a bright future. Itís garnering attention across the nation and in the state, and this summer, I had the opportunity to welcome Speaker Carl Heastie to our area to learn more about the UAS industry.

The Speaker and I had the privilege of learning more about Genius NY, which is a program that provides resources, investments and local networking through a business accelerator competition to support emerging UAS companies. We were also able to watch a drone conduct a building inspection as well as meet several competing teams. This yearís finalists included Syracuse-based companies like: Akrobotix, which is developing autopilot systems, and OmniMesh, which is designing a network more secure than the internet to increase drone security.4

Other local companies are at the forefront of the drone industry and itís paying off. SRC Inc., based in Cicero, has become a leader in the counter-drone systems of detection and tracking and was recently awarded a $65 million military defense contract. This contract will add 50 more good-paying jobs, such as engineering positions, to our workforce.5

This is a true turning point for Central New York as we become a hub in UAS technology. We have the opportunity to be home to a highly skilled and tech-savvy workforce that puts our local businesses at the forefront of the drone industry.

Iíll work in Albany to not only make sure New York is business friendly and that our workforce has the skills necessary to work in the UAS sector, but Iíll also address challenges this industry faces as it works to improve our nationís safety, security and efficiency.

Together, we can look forward to a bright future here in Central New York. If you have any questions, please contact my office at StirpeA@nyassembly.gov or 315-452-1115.

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1 businessinsider.com/commercial-drone-uses-agriculture-business-military-2017-8

2 spotlightnews.com/towns/colonie/2017/09/13/albany-county-sheriffs-new-drones-are-in-high-demand

3 washingtonpost.com/sf/brand-connect/goldman-sachs/drones-reporting-for-work

4 geniusny.com/2017-teams.html

5 syracuse.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/02/src_of_cicero_wins_65_million_army_drone_contract_adding_50_new_jobs.html