Major tech trend with local focus

Published Oct 9, 2017 at 4:00pm

Rome and the Mohawk Valley are flying high with drones.

Inspired by the groundbreaking partnerships being forged at Griffiss International Airport with local firms, NASA and Walmart, recent activities demonstrate how unmanned aerial system technology is being embraced locally.

More than 100 students and teachers joined in a three-day drone event hosted by Project Fibonacci at The Beeches professional campus. The participants learned how to build and operate a drone, including regulatory information.

A community group is planning an April 2018 drone team competition for ages 11 and up in Utica. The Rig Rescue involves a simulation of a malfunctioning off-shore oil platform.

Meanwhile, a school district has begun flying a drone at scholastic sporting events.

This all comes on the heels of the announcement at Griffiss a little more than two weeks ago by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of a NASA partnership with NUAIR, manager of the drone testing site at the county airportt. The state last year announced $30 million for drone research and development in the Rome-Syracuse region.

Griffiss is one of seven locations nationwide to be federally designated as a testing site for safely operating commercial drones in U.S. airspace.

Local educational institutions are also working to further burgeoning drone industry efforts in the region. For example, Mohawk Valley Community College has aligned training curriculum and research efforts around the growing needs of this sector. 

Cutting edge technology, with potential for employment opportunities, is being developed in our own backyard.