drones (I

Nevada launches drone safety research center

Nevada is no stranger to drones.

The state is one of the Federal Aviation Administration's original national test sites for unmanned aerial systems technology, and has produced research into drone traffic management systems. The city of Reno was selected for FAA’s Drone Integration Pilot Program, and Las Vegas has the most registered drone users in the nation, according to 2017 research from Bard College's Center for the study of the drone.

Now the state is pushing those efforts further -- announcing on July 31 the launch of the Nevada Drone Center of Excellence for Public Safety.

The new center aims to guide further research into the proper use of drones with a specific focus on ensuring drones don’t cause harm to other aircraft or people on the ground. Specific applications include drone surveillance, detect and avoid (remote sensing), wildland firefighting, gas-leak detection and drone delivery of medical equipment and organs.

The drone center will be located in Las Vegas and run by the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS), a non-profit that works on behalf of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The facility and technology infrastructure backbone were donated by Switch, a Nevada-based company in the data center business.

Chris Walach, the senior director for the NIAS and the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site, said the center will help deal with the challenges that come with bringing drones into the national airspace.

“This new center will help advance infrastructure protections, drone detection innovations, enhance air safety, and expand air commerce in Nevada," Walach said.. "We are taking an aggressive approach toward solving the complex UAS industry challenge of mitigating drone incursions into the National Airspace System -- one of the toughest FAA challenges today." 

About the Author

Matt Leonard is a former reporter for GCN.

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