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Joe Kummer, president of Propulsive Wing in Elbridge, N.Y. demonstrates his prototype unmanned aerial vehicle.  Photo: Ryan Delaney/WRVO
Joe Kummer, president of Propulsive Wing in Elbridge, N.Y. demonstrates his prototype unmanned aerial vehicle. Photo: Ryan Delaney/WRVO

Why upstate communities want to be drone testing sites

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A coalition of universities and defense contractors in upstate New York has submitted a bid to become a federal research and test site for drones.

The Federal Aviation Administration is working on regulations for the use of unmanned aircraft in American airspace by 2015.

To do that, the FAA will name six testing sites - and seeing economic opportunities, upstate New York wants to have one of those sites.

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Reported by

Ryan Delaney
Reporter, The Innovation Trail

Bob Knauff is the head of the coalition, known as NUAIR. He says the civilian drone industry's expected to generate billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs, and the bid is aimed at ensuring New York state shares in both. "We look at the short and medium term benefit as one that will bring an awful lot of industry,"says Knauff. "Small industry, probably, but some larger ones too, to come right here, central New York, and operate."

Unmanned aircraft, also known as UAS, could be used for everything from agriculture to mail delivery. There are also several law enforcement applications.

The designation process has been delayed several months by the FAA over privacy concerns.

Upstate New York will be competing with about two-dozen other sites around the country. They're expected to be named in a little over two month's time.

Reporting by the Innovation Trail is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Visit innovationtrail.org.

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