N.Y.-Israel partnership to create UAS Center of Excellence


Three Israeli companies will use a new Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Research and Testing Center of Excellence being created in the Mohawk Valley in conjunction with the drone test corridor between Syracuse and Rome, state officials said.

The initiative was announced Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo among several economic development partnerships between New York state and Israel resulting from Cuomo’s recent trip to Israel. The specific location for the new center has not been announced yet.

The Empire State Development (ESD) agency will provide a $250,000 planning grant to establish the new drone research and testing center of excellence, Cuomo’s office said. Three Israeli tenant companies — Vorpal Flytrex and CivDrone — “have already committed to working with NUAIR and utilizing this new Center of Excellence,” the announcement said. It also noted that this week, the parachute system equipped on Flytrex’s package delivery drones was validated as compliant with industry standards for parachutes, after testing completed by NUAIR at the New York UAS Test Site at Griffiss International Airport in Rome.

NUAIR (Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance) is the organization overseeing the drone-testing corridor between Griffiss and Syracuse.

The initiative for the new center of excellence with three Israeli tenants “builds on the state-of-the-art unmanned aerial vehicle test corridor between Syracuse and Rome,” according to Empire State Development board member Eric Gertler. He observed the corridor “was created with a $300,000 investment from ESD and...has already attracted drone companies from all over the world.”

Griffiss is one of seven UAS test sites across the country that have been designated by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

Cuomo said of the recent trip to Israel that "we focused on key areas that present real opportunities for collaboration with Israeli companies because when Israeli startups choose New York, there is tremendous potential for growth for both economies...."

The series of partnerships that were announced Monday "build on the agreement signed last week between Empire State Development and the Israel Innovation Authority for a $2 million partnership that will further strengthen economic development ties between New York and Israel," the state noted. The agreement includes cooperation on the co-development and commercialization of innovative solutions in the fields of cybersecurity, supply chain, smart cities, energy, unmanned aerial vehicles, life sciences and other areas.


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