August 2, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces $5 Million Investment to Grow Unmanned Aerial Systems Industry in Upstate New York

Governor Cuomo Announces $5 Million Investment to Grow Unmanned Aerial Systems Industry in Upstate New York

Significant State Commitment Will Help Jumpstart Emerging Unmanned Aerial Systems Industry in Central New York Investment Complements “Central NY Rising” – Region’s Successful Upstate Revitalization Initiative Blueprint to Grow the Economy and Create New Opportunities

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $5 million commitment to support and grow the emerging Unmanned Aerial Systems industry in New York State. Through this initial investment, the State will bolster the ongoing efforts to create a hub for Unmanned Aerial Systems innovation and manufacturing in Upstate New York, specifically supporting concepts originated by NASA. This will include the planning and design of next generation Unmanned Aerial Traffic Management infrastructure, national Unmanned Aerial Systems standardized testing and rating facilities, and an innovation district dedicated to unmanned systems, in a corridor between the cities of Syracuse and Rome.

“Strategic investments in innovation and the industries of tomorrow are key components of our approach to economic development, and this is an emerging sector with high-growth potential,” Governor Cuomo said. “This commitment, and our partnership with regional stakeholders from Central New York, will ensure that New York State continues to lead the way in the development of high-tech, job-creating industries.”

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “With the announcement of this significant investment, New York State is furthering its commitment to the efforts of focusing on this emerging field. We are determined to ensure that our state is well positioned when it comes to the burgeoning unmanned aircraft system industry.”

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of Commissioner Zemsky’s participation in a policy workshop on Drones and future of aviation hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology. The $5 million investment kicks-off New York State’s unparalleled commitment to growing the Unmanned Aerial Systems industry through the strategies outlined in the Central NY Rising plan. Supporting this effort is the strong regional presence of aerospace firms, such as Saab, Lockheed Martin, and SRC, and regional assets, such as the NUAIR Alliance, which operates a FAA designated Unmanned Aerial Systems test site.

Robert Simpson, President and CEO of CenterState and Co-Chair of the Central NY Regional Economic Development Council said, “The future of UAS traffic management standards, innovation, and technology is poised to take root in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley. This investment is among the first in the New York State’s multimillion dollar commitment through the CNY Rising plan to further develop this sector here. It’s validation that, with private sector expertise, broad industry partnerships, and an FAA-designated test site, we have a leading role to play in the global development of the UAS industry.”

Anthony Albanese, President, Gryphon Sensors said, “New York State’s visionary leadership will help accelerate the safe and secure commercial integration of UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS). This will have a profound impact on our business and the economies of the Central New York and Mohawk Valley regions for decades to come.”

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, “This commitment from Governor Cuomo and New York State is an important investment in the efforts to turn a fledgling industry in Central New York into a burgeoning sector of our Upstate economy. We are proud of the holistic strategic plan that, together, we assembled last year to win the Upstate Revitalization Initiative and UAS was a major focus of CNY Rising. I am pleased to see the Governor and Commissioner Zemsky doing what they said they would do by‎ supporting strategies and initiatives developed here at the local level.”

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. said, “Innovation is key to long term, sustainable economic growth, and the UAS is an industry in its infancy and emerging field with tremendous potential. This support will not only grow the UAS industry, but will create jobs and economic opportunity across the region. I commend Governor Cuomo for this investment in making the future of Central New York even brighter.”

Further indicating the strong regional and state commitment to the success of this industry, educational institutions, such as Syracuse University and Mohawk Valley Community College, are aligning training curriculum and research efforts around the growing needs of this sector. Additionally, New York State recently launched one of the largest business accelerator programs in the world – GENIUS NY– which is catering to business proposals in the categories of Unmanned Systems and Data to Decisions Applications, and will bring together some of the most promising startups to help shape the future of Central New York. The competition, which is currently underway, will provide grand prizes of up to $1 million, as well as other resources and support for entrepreneurs.

In November, further details will be released at the 2016 UTM Convention on how these assets and strategies will be bolstered to bring beyond visual line of site capabilities to New York State. The convention will feature keynote briefings from NASA on technical capability level demonstration 2, in which many collaborators will participate this October. The Convention is hosted by the Air Traffic Controls Association, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Empire State Development Corporation, Onondaga County, Oneida County, the CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity, the NUAIR Alliance, and Syracuse University. Details on the Convention can be found here.

Central NY Rising

Today's announcement complements “Central NY Rising,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested nearly $3 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination to grow and invest in. Now, the region is accelerating Central NY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.​

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