New York Tests Delivery And Passenger Drones

New York county is exploring delivery and passenger drones from an investment in research of almost $1 million from NASA.

Oneida County was awarded $897,000 by the nation’s top aeronautic agency, to develop Advanced Air Mobility at the New York UAS Test Site (Griffiss International Airport). According to a county spokesperson, “The goal of the research is to develop technology that will support safe, secure, resilient and efficient heavy-lift UAS cargo delivery and passenger carrying.”* 

The test site, which is owned by Oneida County, is one of seven FAA-designated UAS Test Sites and managed by NUAIR, which is also part of the 50-mile UAS Traffic Management corridor which spans from Rome to Syracuse. This corridor includes BVLOS testing and advanced drone operations and was announced as completed, just a year ago (2019), by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. 

Anthony Picente, Jr., an Oneida County Executive, expressed the following for NASA’s partnership with their County:   

“Oneida County’s long-standing partnership with NASA has proven to be a productive one. Together, we have conducted crucial research that has led to transformative advancements in the UAS industry. I look forward to the impact this new collaboration will have on the future of this emerging technology.”*

As part of NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility Project, the County’s project will develop the operation of vertiports. In addition, they will have infrastructure requirements needed to increase the scale of automation technologies. 

It is believed, by many, that vertiports open up the possibility for autonomous drone taxis.

Oneida County Aviation Commissioner, Chad Lawrence, said, “This new NASA task order has positioned Oneida County to be the leader in Advanced Air Mobility development. It is testament to the high quality of work conducted by our UAS Test Site and its partners.”*

NUAIR CEO, Michael Hertzendorf, was interviewed by DroneLife in 2019 and observed the expansion of unmanned traffic management, as well as, delivery and passenger drones, and how they benefit the state’s economy. He put it:

“What is most exciting to me is not the drones. It’s the economic potential that this technology could have on communities – how can we make New York better for the people? The best is yet to come. UTM is the building block. Once we get into urban air mobility and the larger platforms which are out on the horizon, it’s really exciting.”*


With Oneida County in New York exploring delivery and passenger drones, it won’t be long — an achievement in drone technology that has been anticipated for some time, but now is on the horizon — developing technology that will safely support resilient and efficient heavy-lift UAS cargo delivery and passenger carrying drones.

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