Governor Cuomo Announces Completion of First-In-The-Nation 50-Mile Drone Corridor Between Syracuse and Rome and Expansion of Syracuse Tech Garden

Posted on November 11, 2019

Governorcuomo Nuair

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the completion of the state supported 50-mile unmanned traffic management drone corridor, which runs from Central New York to the Mohawk Valley. The first-in-the-nation corridor is the most advanced drone testing corridor in the nation. With the needed infrastructure now in place, companies will be able to test both unmanned aerial systems platforms and UTM technologies in real world settings, generating data that will inform the industry and regulators and taking us one step closer towards the routine commercial use of drones. The completion of the corridor advances the regions' collective strategy to accelerate and support emerging uses of UAS in key industries, including agriculture and forest management, transportation and logistics, media and film development, utilities and infrastructure and public safety. At the Syracuse International Airport, the Governor today also announced that the home of the innovative GENIUS NY UAS competition, the Tech Garden in Downtown Syracuse, will undergo a major expansion project to include the addition of two floors to the existing facility. The increased visibility and street-scape will serve as the anchor of the Syracuse's City Center Innovation Hub, a core component of the Syracuse Surge strategy, and will serve as the gateway to the "Innovation Alley" on Warren Street in Syracuse. Empire State Development is assisting the expansion project with up to $12.5 million made available through the regionally designed CNY Rising Upstate Revitalization Initiative plan.

"The completion of the 50-mile drone corridor is a groundbreaking achievement that caps a key strategy laid out in our CNY Rising plan to make Central New York and the Mohawk Valley a global center for UAS testing and innovation," Governor Cuomo said. "Additionally, the Tech Garden expansion in Syracuse will further our efforts to draw forward-thinking industry entrepreneurs, including within the UAS industry, to the area ensuring the region continues to rise for decades to come."

"As Chair of the Regional Economic Development Councils, I have seen firsthand the evolution of our work to grow the UAS and UTM industry in Central New York," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This 50-mile drone corridor is another milestone in our efforts to create the most advanced drone testing corridor in the nation. The multi-million-dollar effort will grow the number of high-tech jobs in the region, strengthen the economy, and advance our Central NY Rising strategy."

The Governor also recently announced that the corridor had also received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly unmanned aircraft beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) within the first segment. This is the first "true" BVLOS authority granted to the FAA-designated test site, which allows unmanned aircraft testing without the need for ground-based observers. The eight-by-four-mile section of airspace that was approved for these flights is between Griffiss International Airport and the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany. The strategic selection of this airspace within the corridor opens the door for future advancements of the corridor and the continued cooperation between NUAIR, the Test Site and New York State agencies.

In November of 2016, in an effort to advance the burgeoning UAS industry in Central New York, Governor Cuomo announced a $30 million state investment to develop the 50-mile flight traffic management system between Syracuse and the NYS UAS Test Site at Griffiss International Airport in Rome. Many local and international companies performed groundbreaking work on the development and deployment of this system, including SRC, the C&S Companies, AX Enterprizes, Unifly, Thales, OneSky, ANRA and Airmap.

The expansion of CenterState CEO's the Tech Garden, which is currently housed in an existing one-story facility located at 235 Harrison Street, will add a second and third floor to the building adding 46,000 square-feet of incubation and acceleration space. The expansion will allow the Tech Garden to house 100 resident-members and allow space for the incubators' 200 virtual-members; will help the incubator to attract more UAS and loT, innovators; establish programs for mature company innovation and support the targeted Drone Zone which will include dedicated spaces that will cater to UAS industry businesses that want to move to the region. The startup incubator is also home to the GENIUS NY UAS competition, which is now entering its fourth round. The latest round of 19 semi-finalists selected to take part in the mentoring opportunity were announced last week. The Tech Garden expects the renovation work to be completed in March of 2021.

Rick Clonan, Vice President of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at CenterState CEO, said, "Today is an exciting day for this region as two critical links to the UAS ecosystem are advanced, further establishing the region's leadership role in the UAS industry. The state's unparalleled investment in GENIUS NY has enabled us to create the world's leading accelerator program for the UAS industry and through this new investment in the Tech Garden we will be able to enhance support for the high-quality companies we've attracted to the region through new programs, resources and startup space. Many of the companies we attract through GENIUS NY are also looking to test their technologies at the New York UAS Test Site and the completion of the corridor will only support their rapid growth and advancement. We thank Governor Cuomo for his support and vision to establish this region as center for UAS technologies."

"The completion of the 50-mile drone corridor is a groundbreaking achievement that caps a key strategy laid out in our CNY Rising plan to make Central New York and the Mohawk Valley a global center for UAS testing and innovation."

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Additionally, in support of the growing drone industry in the region, NUAIR is launching the NY UAS Public Private Partnership Program (NYFLY), which is aimed at spurring the adoption of UAS technologies into state and local government operations. The first in the nation competition will encourage and seed partnerships between public entities and firms to advance a series of priority use cases, including but not limited to:

  • First responders and public safety;
  • Infrastructure inspection and construction;
  • Counter UAS and critical infrastructure protection;
  • Forest and environmental monitoring;
  • Public Health; and,
  • Statewide UTM adoption and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) infrastructure.

NUAIR will open NYFLY to the first round of pilot project applications in early 2020. Additional details on NYFLY will be announced in the coming months.

Fueled by New York State's investment in the burgeoning UAS industry CenterState CEO reports more than 1,820 UAS related jobs have been created or announced locally on an estimated private sector investment of $820 million and a 8.5:1 return on the State's investment. To maximize the economic impact of these activities and further maintain New York's leadership position in the UAS industry, economic development partners, including CenterState CEO, Griffiss International Airport, NUAIR and Mohawk Valley Edge, are also currently engaged with over 30 firms that have expressed interest in expanding operations in the regions. In July, the Governor announced a New York-Israel Partnership to create UAS Center of Excellence in the Mohawk Valley. New York and Israeli companies will use the new center to focus on advancing technologies, which will bring Israeli technology and R&D to the New York drone market and open Israeli's markets to New York State UAS companies.

Mike Hertzendorf, CEO of NUAIR, said, "The launch of this corridor marks a significant step forward for the UAS industry and for the UAS ecosystem being built in the region. Attendees to the 2019 New York UAS Symposium will see demonstrations and learn how their technology can be tested and advanced at this industry-leading corridor. We look forward to beginning the next phase of flight testing along the corridor and unlocking new commercial opportunities for the safe integration of UAS in the national air space."

Robert Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState CEO, said, "Three years ago this region set forth an audacious goal to be the first in the nation to launch a beyond visual line of site corridor and it is exciting to see that vision become reality. We are grateful to Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State for their unparalleled investment which has enabled this goal to be realized. The economic impact of this advancement will be significant and we are well positioned to attract companies to the region to test and grow their UAS companies."

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-Designate Eric Gertler said, "By supporting this premier drone testing corridor the state is committing to make the strategic investments that will ensure that New York continues to be at the forefront of the innovative UAS industry, creating economic opportunities throughout Central New York and the Mohawk Valley."

State Senator Rachel May said, "It is exciting to see continued investment in Upstate New York. Projects like this will allow us to attract and retain businesses to the region and continue the momentum of economic growth we've seen over the past several years."

State Senator Joseph Griffo said, "This significant milestone opens up many possibilities for the area and will be a big draw for companies looking to make advancements in drone technology research. The unmanned traffic management drone corridor will further strengthen the positions of the Mohawk Valley and Central New York regions as leaders in the UAS industry."

State Assembly Member William Magnarelli said, "The CNY region has embraced drone technology and has secured the first drone corridor. By establishing this region as a leader in a growing industry, it is hoped that it will create jobs in this region around the new technology being developed."

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon said, "The research and collaboration that will develop from the opening of the drone corridor will have a significant impact on the global UAS Industry and lead to job creation and growth of cutting-edge technology companies, right here in New York State."

Assembly Member Pam Hunter said, "Establishing a drone corridor will be advantageous for the region and will also affirm New York's role as a global leader in developing UAS technologies. I look forward to the economic, environmental, and public safety benefits that the new corridor will bring."

Assemblyman Al Stirpe said, "Our region has been a leader in the burgeoning Unmanned Aerial Systems industry, attracting attention and investment from around the globe. The completion of this corridor further solidifies our competitive edge in this arena, and I am delighted to have played a role in the project."

Central New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Randy Wolken, President & CEO of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY) and Deborah Stanley, President of the State University of New York at Oswego said, "Supporting the burgeoning UAS industry is central to the regionally designed CNY Rising plan. Through our continued support for this first of its kind drone corridor we are ensuring that New York remains at the forefront of this industry, creating new opportunities and jobs for residents in the region for decades to come."

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. said, "Our UAS Test Site at Griffiss International Airport has made Oneida County the epicenter for the industry's research and development. The innovation taking place in Rome is second to none, and together with our partners at NUAIR we continue to raise the bar and capitalize on economic opportunities. I thank Governor Cuomo for his dedication to the advancement of our goals."

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said, "The continued momentum in the designated drone corridor in Central New York is great news. Governor Cuomo's commitment to the burgeoning Unmanned Aerial Systems industry in our region has been transformative. As an integral part of the CNY Rising economic development plan, our region is truly establishing itself as the global hub for this innovative industry and growing the regional economy." McMahon continued "The planned expansion of The Tech Garden will further our efforts to draw innovative entrepreneurs to our community and further support the efforts of the Syracuse Surge."

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said, "The completion of the drone corridor further solidifies Central New York's position as a global leader in the UAS industry. It is another step forward for the Syracuse Surge, our strategy for inclusive growth in the New Economy. Thanks to Governor Cuomo's continued strong support, the people in the City of Syracuse and the Central New York region will see more opportunities in the drone industry."

City of Rome Mayor Jacqueline Izzo said, "Griffiss International Airport has become home to some of the most advanced developments in drone technology in the country and the opening of the drone corridor will cement the Mohawk Valley and Central New York Regions as the nation's epicenter of UAS research and technology."

For additional information regarding NUAIR, click here.

For additional information regarding The Tech Garden, click here.

Accelerating CNY 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 more than $5.6 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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Visit the Governor's website for the official press release.

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